Mandate Class Instruction on Eating Disorders & Body Image & Staff Training
This petition had 267 supporters
I’m Kari Adams and I suffered for over 25 years with a debilitating eating disorder until I went to treatment at the Renfrew Center in Ridgewood, New Jersey. I was so fortunate to have my family’s support in attending the recovery center both emotionally as well as financially. My insurance carrier did not cover my treatment program and there was no way I could have recovered from my eating disorder without going into the intensive recovery program at Renfrew. Without the financial assistance of my family, I would still be suffering tremendously and as a single mother of two children, it was imperative I get better. Treatment for eating disorders is incredibly expensive (In the US cost of treatment ranges from $500 per day to $2,000 per day. The cost of outpatient treatment, including therapy and medical monitoring, can extend to $100,000 or more) and many people suffer needlessly because they are unable to get the help they so desperately need.
We know that early intervention in eating disorders is critical for success in an individual’s recovery and yet, US public schools barely touch on education to students about eating disorder and body image. It is my belief that the earlier we educate our children about eating disorders and developing high self-esteem, the lower the rates of eating disorders such as Anorexia, Bulimia and Binge Eating Disorder and negative body image issues will exist among them. I am creating this petition to pass a bill that requires all New Jersey public schools to teach an entire course about eating disorders and body image, not just a section of health class. On that bill, it will also be mandated that all school educators receive training and education on eating disorders and how to look for signs that pupils may be suffering.
Everybody is touched by eating disorders and negative body image either by their own suffering or someone they know. In fact, when I met with NJ Assemblyman Reed Gusciora to talk about introducing a bill to require schools to educate staff and students about eating disorders, he told me that he is friends with a couple who recently lost their daughter as a result of an eating disorder. I raised the question, “Could early education have possibly saved her life?” Of course, we will never know, but the more our children and educators are informed about this topic, the more we reinforce and teach self-confidence and good self-esteem and, hopefully, lower the rates of eating disorders in the United States.
Some Research Findings:
• If patients do not receive proper treatment, multiple re-hospitalizations are common and the rate of recovery plummets.
• Dollars committed to eating disorders research lags far behind other diseases with similar lifetime prevalence rates. In 2011, NIH spent only $27 million on the study of eating disorders compared to $169 million for autism, and $264 million for schizophrenia. Yet the death rate for anorexia nervosa is double what it is for autism and for schizophrenia.
• Anorexia is the 3rd most common chronic illness among adolescents
• 95% of those who have eating disorders are between the ages of 12 and 25
• 50% of girls between the ages of 11 and 13 see themselves as overweight
• 80% of 13-year-olds have attempted to lose weight
• Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness
• A study by the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders reported that 5 – 10% of anorexics die within 10 years after contracting the disease; 18-20% of anorexics will be dead after 20 years and only 30 – 40% ever fully recover
• The mortality rate associated with anorexia nervosa is 12 times higher than the death rate of ALL causes of death for females 15 – 24 years old.
• 20% of people suffering from anorexia will prematurely die from complications related to their eating disorder, including suicide and heart problems.
• Anorexia is now diagnosed in boys as young as eight and a full 40% of those with binge-eating disorders are male.
• 96% of Americans believe eating disorders are serious illnesses.
• 81% believe eating disorders can be successfully treated.
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