Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Call to Action! EDC Opposes Michelle Obama's Appearance on Biggest Loser: Add Your Voice.

Weight stigma matters to the EDC. We are so concerned about the intersection of eating disorders and weight stigma that it was the focus of our congressional briefing last month. Viewing media that portrays negative stereotypes of overweight people, contributes to a variety of issues including: negative self-image, anorexia, bulimia, binge eating disorder, and more.  As Dr. Puhl underscored in her talk at the Congressional briefing, stigmatizing efforts to help those lose weight actually have a boomerang effect and create more health problems for overweight people. 
First Lady Michelle Obama is planning on appearing on NBC’s The Biggest Loser again. The Biggest Loser, unfortunately, is a show that exploits overweight people and reinforces negative stereotyping of overweight people. The show also encourages risky weight loss behaviors that are dangerous and cannot be maintained for an extended time.  Thus those who appear on the show typically gain the weight back, which poses both physical and mental health risks.  The Biggest Loser perpetuates weight stigma rather than promotes health. The EDC is working with BEDA, BingeBehavior.com and others to oppose her appearance on the show.
We support Michelle Obama’s nutrition work, but we’ve been concerned about her anti-obesity push for years. In fact the EDC has worked with Congress and other like-minded organizations to ask Michelle Obama to reframe her approach and focus on health not weight so that her efforts do not cause more harm.
We’d be happy to work with Michelle Obama’s office to come up with constructive ideas that promote nutrition and combat eating disorders. Unfortunately appearing on the Biggest Loser does neither of these things. We encourage you to sign the petition and call the First Lady’s office urging her to not appear on the Biggest Loser
How to do it:
2.  Calling her office at 202-456-1414 and tell her to not appear on The Biggest Loser. Tell her why you care about this issue.  Encourage Michelle Obama to work with the EDC, BEDA and BingeBehavior.com  and other like-minded organizations to have a serious conversation about promoting healthy eating habits in way that also combats eating disorders.

A special thanks to BEDA and BingeBehavior for spearheading this effort!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Shutdowns, Obamacare and Parity: What Does it Mean?

If you’ve been following the news you know that the federal government is currently in partial shutdown mode. You likely also know, that the tension began when House conservatives attempted to pass a spending bill with a rider that would defund Obamacare. And compromises on spending have often included provisions that would delay the implementation of Healthcare Reform. So what does this mean for the EDC and for eating disorders?

The first very serious problem is that operating under a partial shutdown (or even a short-term continuing resolution, which is expected to be the solution reached through Congressional negotiations) is  the lack of sufficient funding for the Department of Health and Human Services. Currently there are not any robust eating disorders programs at HHS. The EDC has long advocated that HHS increase funding into eating disorders research and prevention programs. Operating at a minimal budget level makes it near impossible for HHS to increase its eating disorders programs.  Additionally sequestration (the across the board funding cuts) hurt the federal government's ability to focus on eating disorders policy. The current spending levels for eating disorders coverage are too little, and too little attention is currently given to eating disorders by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).  The EDC urges Congress to pass a robust appropriations bill funding HHS and and to direct HHS to increase research and prevention programs related to eating disorders.

The second issue to be aware is that the Exchanges opened for enrollment (see more here) on October 1.  Coverage purchased through the Exchanges will take effect on January 1. We are continuing to monitor the state plans, to work to ensure that they cover eating disorders at parity. It is imperative that the plans offered through the Exchanges cover eating disorders treatment. Most of the delays that are currently being discussed revolve around a device tax, that wouldn’t effect eating disorders coverage. Another compromise expected to be announced on Tuesday would involve Secretary Sebelius certifying that individuals receiving Obamacare subsidies meet the required income levels, again this would not have an impact on eating disorders coverage.

Another part of the operation of the Exchanges and additional insurance coverage, is the confusion over Mental Health Parity. We are continuing the work we’ve been doing on Mental Health Parity (see more here). The regulations still aren’t out, but we’ve heard from insiders on the Hill that the regulations are expected at the end of this year. Although, it remains unclear whether the timing will change given the recent shutdown. In addition to the two letters sent from Congress to Secretary Sebelius we also continue to put pressure on HHS to clarify that eating disorders covered at Parity