Monday, May 11, 2015

#AnnasLaw Top 10

Washington, DC
May 11, 2015

Legislative Counsel finalizing Anna Westin Act

 As you probably know by now, the Anna Westin Act of 2015 (Anna's Law) is named in memory of Anna Selina Westin who died as a direct result of anorexia nervosa and inadequate access to treatment.  Anna's mom, Kitty Westin, and her family, have been tireless advocates since Anna's death -in hopes of preventing another family from suffering like their family did as a result of anorexia. And, as you probably know by now, Anna's Law focuses on "The Three T's" --Training, Treatment and Truth in Advertising.  

Now that we have the go-ahead from our champions on Capitol Hill to share more, we are thrilled to share with you "AnnasLaw Top 10" --the top 10 reasons we love what you helped create in #AnnasLaw:

1.  #AnnasLaw is ZERO cost;
2.  #AnnasLaw is bi-partisan from the start;
3.  #AnnasLaw includes the following "FINDINGS: 
(a) Risk of death among individuals with anorexia nervosa is 18 times greater than their same age peers without anorexia. It is estimated that at least one person dies every 62 minutes from an eating disorder; at least 23 persons each day; (b) Health consequences such as osteoporosis (brittle bones), gastrointestinal complications, cardiac, and dental problems are significant health and financial burdens throughout life; (c) At lowest estimate, 14.5 million Americans suffer from eating disorders. One percent of adolescent boys and two percent of adolescent girls suffer from eating disorders; eating disorders account for at least four percent of all childhood hospitalizations; (d) Eating disorders are treatable biopsychosocial illnesses. There is a high rate of co-morbidity with other illnesses such as depression, substance abuse, or anxiety disorders; (e) Anorexia nervosa is an eating disorder characterized by self-starvation, weight loss, fear of gaining weight and disturbances in the way in which one’s body weight or shape is experienced (body image disturbance);(g) Anorexia nervosa is associated with serious health consequences including heart failure, kidney failure, osteoporosis, and death. People who suffer anorexia nervosa are 57 times more likely to die of suicide than their peers; (h) Bulimia nervosa has a prevalence rate of 1.5 percent among American women, 0.5 percent among American men; (i) Bulimia nervosa is associated with serious health consequences, including cardiac, gastro intestinal, and dental problems including irregular heartbeats, gastric rupture, peptic ulcer, tooth decay, and death; (j) Binge eating disorder is characterized by frequent episodes of uncontrolled overeating. Binge eating disorder is common: at lowest estimate, 3.5 percent of American women and 2.0 percent of American men will suffer from this disorder in their lifetime; (k) Binge eating is often associated with obesity, high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol levels, elevated triglyceride levels, increased risk of bowel, breast and reproductive cancers, increased risk of diabetes, and increased risk of arthritic damage to the joints; (l) Many suffer from some, but not all, of the symptoms of anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, or binge eating disorder, which is referred to as other specified feeding or eating disorder (OSFED). Between 4 percent and 20 percent of young women practice unhealthy patterns of dieting, purging, and binge eating; (m) Eating disorders are more common in women, but they do occur in men. Rates of binge eating disorder are similar in females and males; (n) Academic evidence has demonstrated a connection between the use of very thin models in advertising and consumer attitudes toward a brand based on such advertising, as well as a material influence of the use of such models on consumer purchase intent, conduct, and reliance; and (o) Eating disorders appear across all age groups, races, ethnicities and socioeconomic groups in the United States and are associated with substantial psychological problems, including depression, substance abuse, and suicide. For children 12 years of age and younger, hospitalizations for eating disorders increased by 119 percent between 1999 and 2006.

4.  #AnnasLaw includes: TRAINING AND EDUCATION.  In essence, the Secretary of Health and Human Services, acting through the Director of the Office on Women’s Health of the Department of Health and Human Services and in consultation with the Secretary of Education, will revise and then reinstate the BodyWise Handbook and related fact sheets and resource lists available on the public Internet site of the National Women’s Health Information Center sponsored by the Office on Women’s Health, to include—updated findings and conclusions as needed; and thorough information about eating dis-orders relating to males as well as females; incorporate information from such BodyWise Handbook and related facts sheets and resource lists into the curriculum of the BodyWorks obesity prevention program developed by the Office on Women’s Health and training modules used in such obesity prevention program; and promote and make publicly available (whether through a public Internet site or other method that does not impose a fee on users) the BodyWise Handbook and related fact sheets and resource lists, as updated under paragraph (1), and the BodyWorks obesity prevention program, as updated under paragraph (2), including for purposes of educating universities and nonprofit entities on eating disorders.

5. #AnnasLaw includes: EDUCATION AND TRAINING FOR HEALTH PROFESSIONALS. In essence, grants will be awarded so grant recipients can integrate training into existing curricula for primary care physicians, other licensed or certified health and mental health professionals, and public health professionals that may include: (here's one of our favorite parts of the bill! --->) ‘‘early intervention and identification of eating disorders; levels of treatment; how to properly refer patients to treatment; steps to aid in the prevention of the development of eating disordered behaviors; and how to treat individuals with eating disorders.  Those who receive grants need to employ a training program that contains: evidence-based findings, promising emerging best practices, or recommendations that pertain to the identification, early intervention, prevention of the development of eating disordered behaviors, and treatment of eating disorders to conduct educational training and conferences, including Internet based courses and teleconferences, on— how to help prevent the development of eating disordered behaviors, identify, intervene early, and appropriately and adequately treat eating disordered patients; how to identify individuals with eating disorders, and those who are at risk for suffering from eating disorders and, therefore, at risk for related severe medical and mental health conditions; how to conduct a comprehensive assessment of individual and familial health risk factors; and how to conduct a comprehensive assessment of a treatment plan.  The training will be evaluated after a period of time. 

6. #AnnasLaw includes: EDUCATION AND TRAINING FOR SCHOOL AND HIGHER EDUCATION PROFESSIONALS.  In essence, grants will be awarded so grant recipients can conduct educational seminars for school personnel on eating disorders early identification, intervention, and prevention of behaviors that are often associated with the development of eating disordered behaviors; and make resources available to individuals affected by eating disorders. 

7. #AnnasLaw includes: PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENTS. In essence, the Director of National Institute of Mental Health ("NIMH") will conduct a program of public service announcements to educate the public on the types of eating disorders; the seriousness of eating disorders (including prevalence, comorbidities, and physical and mental health consequences); how to identify, intervene, refer for treatment, and help prevent behaviors that often lead to the development of eating disordered behaviors; discrimination and bullying based on body size; the effects of media on self esteem and body image; and the signs and symptoms of eating disorders.

8. #AnnasLaw includes: CLARIFICATION OF EXISTING LAW.  In essence, #AnnasLaw will aid in the implementing the Paul Wellstone and Pete Domenici Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equality Act of 2008 so that the following is clarified: In the case of a group health plan or a health insurance issuer offering group or individual health insurance coverage that providers both medical and surgical benefits and mental health or substance use disorder benefits including coverage of residential treatment services, the following shall apply: A permanent exclusion of all benefits for a particular condition or disorder shall constitute a treatment limitation for the purposes of and the policy clarification that applies to subacute mental health and substance use disorder treatment and acute medical/surgical services, such as hospice and skilled nursing. 

9. #AnnasLaw includes: A REPORT BY FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION. In essence, Anna's Law means: Truth in Advertising.  #AnnasLaw asks that the Federal Trade Commission submit to Congress a report that contains a strategy to reduce the use, in advertising and other media for the promotion of commercial products, of images that have been altered to materially change the physical characteristics of the faces and bodies of the individuals depicted; and recommendations for an appropriate, risk based regulatory framework with respect to such use.

10. #AnnasLaw includes: ZERO COST.  In essence, no additional funds are authorized to be appropriated to carry out this Act or the amendments made by this Act. This Act and such amendments shall be carried out using amounts otherwise made available for such purposes. 

^^^^YOU made this possible!! THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU for all your advocacy and using your voice to tell us what you wanted to see beyond the FREED Act.


MONUMENTAL thank you to our champions and their staff: Congressman Ted Deutch (D-FL) and Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL).  Your dedication to helping those impacted by eating disorders continues to give us hope.

A HUGE and HEARTFELT thank you to each and every advocate and activist who took the time to tell us what they wanted in legislation this Congressional session!  Thanks to each of YOU, the Anna Westin Act of 2015 will be introduced --and it is bipartisan out of the gate!!

And perhaps most of all, OUR DEEPEST THANK YOU to the Westin family for not allowing anorexia to silence your voice. Thank you for allowing us the honor and privilege to know Anna through you.  We wish with all our hearts that she was alive and well and advocating with us, in-person, on Capitol Hill.  But we have a sense that she is with us and watching over the entire process --including the dreaming up of, creating, drafting, re-drafting, criticizing, editing, processing, revising, revising, finalizing and introducing, the Anna Westin Act of 2015.

We can hardly wait to see YOU on the Hill (and/or at Virtual Lobby Day) on May 13, 2015.  Sincerely, ~the EDC
#TheTimeIsNow #AnnasLaw

PS: A full text copy of the bill will post shortly after its introduction, on --it takes a few days for folks on the Hill to get the text up and officially on the website, so please be patient and know/trust that we'll share it with you as soon as it's up!! (you know we'll be 'stalking' the website until it's up! ;-))

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