Legislator Proposes Mandatory ED Education In Elementary And Secondary Schools

Rep. Judy Biggert (IL) has introduced the Eating Disorders Awareness, Prevention, and Education Act of 2011. This Act proposes improving education of students, teachers, and administrators about eating disorders, including how to identify and help at-risk individuals. We applaud Rep. Biggert as she continues to support this legislation.

Here is part of the legislation: 112th Congress H.R. 36
The Congress finds the following:
(1) An estimated 5,000,000 to 10,000,000 women and girls and 1,000,000 men and boys suffer from eating disorders, including anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge eating disorder, as well as eating disorders that are not otherwise defined. (2) Anorexia nervosa is an eating disorder characterized by self-starvation and excessive weight loss.
(3) An estimated 0.5 to 3.7 percent of American women will suffer from anorexia nervosa in their lifetime.
(4) Anorexia nervosa is associated with serious health consequences including heart failure, kidney failure, osteoporosis, and death.
(5) Anorexia nervosa has the highest mortality rate of all psychiatric disorders. A young woman is 12 times more likely to die than other women her age without anorexia.
(6) Bulimia nervosa is an eating disorder characterized by excessive food consumption followed by inappropriate compensatory behaviors, such as self-induced vomiting, misuse of laxatives, fasting, or excessive exercise.
(7) Bulimia nervosa is common: An estimated 1.1 to 4.2 percent of American women will suffer from this disorder in their lifetime.
(8) Bulimia nervosa is associated with cardiac, gastrointestinal, and dental problems including irregular heartbeats, gastric rupture, peptic ulcer, and tooth decay.
(9) Binge eating disorder is characterized by frequent episodes of uncontrolled overeating.
(10) Binge eating disorder is common: An estimated 2 to 5 percent of Americans experience this disorder in a 6-month period.
(11) Binge eating is associated with obesity, heart disease, gall bladder disease, and diabetes.
(12) Eating disorders usually appear in adolescence and are associated with substantial psychological problems, including depression, substance abuse, and suicide.
(13) Forty-two percent of 1st through 3d grade girls want to be thinner, and 81 percent of 10-year-old children are afraid of being fat.
(14) Thirty-five percent of dieters progress to pathological dieting, and 20 to 25 percent of these individuals progress to partial or full syndrome eating disorders.
(15) Eating disorders can lead to death. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, 1 in 10 people with anorexia nervosa will die of starvation, cardiac arrest, or other medical complications.
(16) Eating disorders can have a negative impact on the educational advancement of a student, a situation often overlooked and rarely addressed in the Nation’s schools.
(17) Educational efforts to prevent eating disorders are of primary importance to the health, well being, and academic success of the Nation’s students.
(18) Females are much more likely than males to develop an eating disorder. An estimated 5 to 15 percent of people with anorexia or bulimia and an estimated 35 percent of people with binge eating disorder are male.

Section 5131(a) of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 7215(a)) is amended by adding at the end the following:
`(28) Programs to improve the identification of students with eating disorders, increase awareness of such disorders among parents and students, and train educators (such as teachers, school nurses, school social workers, coaches, school counselors, and administrators) on effective eating disorder prevention and assistance methods.’.

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