Thursday, March 3, 2011

U.S. Senators Harkin, Klobuchar, and Franken introduce bill to confront eating disorders in the U.S.

U.S. Senators Harkin, Klobuchar, and Franken introduce bill to confront eating disorders in the U.S.



David Jaffe, Eating Disorders Coalition,


WASHINGTON, D.C. – The United States took an important step toward addressing the national emergency of eating disorders when Senators Tom Harkin, Amy Klobuchar, and Al Franken introduced the Federal Response to Eliminate Eating Disorders (FREED) Act today.

“The FREED Act is the first legislative effort in the history of the Senate to comprehensively confront the seriousness and deadly threat of eating disorders in the United States. We are proud to have Senators Harkin, Klobuchar and Franken champion our cause,” said Jeanine Cogan, Policy Director of the Eating Disorders Coalition.

A coordinated national response like the FREED Act can help the millions of Americans suffering (and, too often, dying) from eating disorders.

“It has been ten years since anorexia killed my daughter Anna,” said EDC Board Member Kitty Westin. “And eating disorders have killed thousands of Americans since then. It’s time for Congress to pass the FREED Act as a critical first step in addressing this national emergency.”

Eating disorders do not discriminate: men and women, all economic classes, old and young are affected. Sadly, eating disorders even touch young children. According to a recent report in the December issue of PEDIATRICS, Official Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, hospitalizations for children with eating disorders under age 12 increased by a shocking 119% for the years 1999 to 2006.

The FREED Act would fund much needed research to better understand eating disorders and provides solutions for prevention, education, screening, diagnosis and treatment. Among other things, the legislation would fund grants to conduct research on treatment efficacy, train health professionals and school personnel to identify and respond to eating disorders, and build on existing reform efforts to ensure that treatment is available to those who need it.

Ten months ago, two days before she was to join the Eating Disorders Coalition citizen lobbying effort on Capitol Hill, a young woman from Pennsylvania named Nicole died in her sleep from her eating disorder. Nicole’s mother sadly states, “If the FREED Act was in place, I might still have my daughter with me today.” Nicole’s aunt, Wendy Bloom, added, “The FREED Act will stop the endless pain for millions of people. It will allow treatment for a disease without the fear of not completing their treatment because their insurance doesn't cover it. It will end the torment and pain of another mother burying her child because she couldn't afford treatment.”

For more information about the FREED Act and/or The Eating Disorders Coalition, please contact:

202-543-9570 or visit


cheryl said...

it's a national emergency? that MY tax dollars can fix?
YOU can sign up for it...I don't want to!

Is this kinda like the "war on drugs"? lame!

Anonymous said...

When I started writing publicly about my journey with what I thought wasn't that bad, recovery from AN, on my own, I'd never heard of the FREED act. I made a point then to start taking this seriously. Kathleen, reading your story, I gasped about 8 times because the words you wrote have traveled my own mind and soul.
I am a veteran and the acronym FREED, Congress saying yes to all citizens for better care, research,prevention and specialized care when necessary would mean a lot. It isn't just insurance companies denying your children, spouses, parents and yes, even grandparents, it is a total lack of education in our own veteran's health care system, the VA medical centers. Yes, VA denies care as well. They offer basic psychotherapy and pharmacology. There is no such thing as an eating disorder facility in the entire VA health system. So where do we go? There is so much shame with eating disorders and the longer it goes on the deeper the void.
We all need to remember that while eds aren't discriminating, that means they are affecting every single population of our armed forces and veterans as well. As a female veteran, disabled in part by AN, I would love nothing more than to see Congress approve and stand behind FREED. These are the things that many soldiers stand up for. Without healthy soldiers we are a vulnerable nation. When any disorder gets ignored it festers and grows larger and stronger. Legislation that protects and cares for our citizens means something to this veteran. I hope this veteran means something to those legislators.

Way to go, EDC. And thank you for your voices to represent those of us who just can not be there right now.

pam hamilton
Persian Gulf Era