THE FREED ACT & OTHER BILLS
There are two main avenues for addressing eating disorders policies at the federal level. The first is to incorporate eating disorders policies into already existing and moving initiatives. The EDC's most recent example of successfully using this method was in 2012 as we worked with Congress to insert report language into a funding bill for NIH that urged the agency to expand, intensify and coordinate eating disorders research. Click here for rationale and summary of this effort.
The second avenue for addressing eating disorders policy is to help define the Congressional agenda by advocating for the drafting and introduction of new bills that improve the lives of people who are affected by eating disorders. The EDC's boldest effort using this avenue is our work with leaders in both the House and Senate to introduce the first ever comprehensive eating disorders bill in the history of Congress, the Federal Response To Eliminate Eating Disorders Act, the FREED Act.
Below are summaries of the main bills and other policies the EDC has advocated for since 2000:
Bill: The FREED Act Summary (Federal Response to Eliminate Eating Disorders)
Purpose: A comprehensive eating disorders bill conceptualized and drafted with input from dozens of eating disorder organizations around the country. Among the many initiatives this bill will address include: creating Centers of Excellence to fill the current gap in eating disorders research, improving training of health and school professionals to appropriately identify and respond to eating disorders, and requiring insurance companies to reimburse for eating disorders treatment on par with physical illnesses.
Bill: The Eating Disorders Awareness, Prevention, and Education Act
(HR 3928 IH, 2000; HR 46 IH1S, 2001; HR 873 IH, 2003; HR 49 IH, 2005; HR 88 IH, 2007)
Purpose: 1) improve identification of students with eating disorders; 2) increase awareness among parents and students; 3) train educators about prevention and assistance methods
Bill: The IMPACT Act (Improved Nutrition and Physical Activity Act)
(H.R.5412, 2002; S.2821. 2002; S.1172, 2003; H.R.716, 2003; S.1325, 2005; H.R.5698, 2006; H.R.2677, 2007)
Purpose: Expand an existing grant program for the training of health profession students to include the treatment of overweight, obesity, and eating disorders
Bill: Promoting Healthy Eating Behaviors in Youth Act
(S 2249, 2002)
Purpose: Provides grants designed to promote healthy eating behaviors in youth as an avenue for preventing eating disorders, obesity, and osteoporosis.
Other Policy Efforts: What We've Done & How You Can Help:
Influence the Implentation of the Affordability Care Act(ACA)
In 2010, Congress enacted the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which expands health insurance coverage for Americans, through state health insurance exchanges for individuals and small businesses, and through an expansion of Medicaid for low-income individuals and families. ACA requires these plans to cover a set of essential health benefits (EHB) that include mental health (and substance use disorder) services. EDC is advocating that HHS make sure eating disorders are included under the mental health benefit of the EHB.
Oppose Mandatory BMI testing in the schools.
The EDC is against state laws that require schools to measure students' BMIs and send report cards home to parents informing them of their child's BMI. To see the full rationale behind this stance read the linked article.
Challenge Obesity Initiatives.
Anti-obesity efforts such as the one initiated by Michelle Obama, while often well-intentioned are causing harm. Any school, company, agency, or other entity who is offering such a program should shift their focus on health, not weight and incorporate the latest scientific evidence and best clinical practices to prevent the onset of new eating disorder cases and other negative consequences.
How the EDC has Challenged Obesity Initiatives:
*EDC worked with other organizations on a letter to Michelle Obama urging her to change her Let's Move (anti-obesity) Campaign. Click here for letter
*EDC worked with 35 Members of Congress who sent a letter to Michelle Obama asking her to change the Let's Move Campaign. Click here for letter
*EDC worked with Members of Congress on a follow-up letter to Michelle Obama. Click here for letter
*EDC gained support from more than 40 organizations who endorsed these Congressional efforts. Click Here for List of Organizations
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