Friday, April 30, 2010

Press Release on the FREED Act

U.S. Sen. Harkin: Harkin, Klobuchar, Franken introduce bill to confront
eating disorders in the U.S.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Kate Cyrul / Bergen Kenny April 27, 2010 (202) 224-3254

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senators Tom Harkin (D-IA), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Al Franken (D-MN) introduced legislation today aimed at fighting and preventing eating disorders in the United States. The Federal Response to Eliminate Eating Disorders (FREED) Act is the first comprehensive legislative effort introduced in the Senate to confront the seriousness of these diseases and to jump start research as well as improve the prevention, screening, diagnosis and treatment of eating disorders. It expands federal research, improves tracking and recording of the actual numbers of people suffering and dying from these diseases, provides training for a wide array of health professionals and educators to better identify and screen for eating disorders, creates a new patient advocacy program to help patients get proper care, authorizes grants for eating disorder prevention programs and builds on the mental health parity and health care reform bills to improve access to treatment, particularly for teens covered by Medicaid.

“Eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa are widespread, insidious and too often fatal diseases. And adolescent women are by no means the only people suffering from eating disorders; these diseases don’t discriminate by gender, race, income or age,” said Harkin, Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. “Sadly, these diseases touch the lives of so many of our families and friends. Nearly half of all Americans personally know someone with an eating disorder. We have got to do a better job at the federal level of investing in research, treatment and prevention and the FREED Act is a major step in the right direction.”

“The statistics on young people struggling with eating disorders are staggering,” said Klobuchar. “We must provide better resources for prevention and treatment to ensure that everyone has access to the help they need to treat and survive this often fatal disease. I want to thank the Westin family for their tireless efforts to raise awareness of the need to combat this disease.”

“I hear far too often from Minnesotans who have dealt personally with a loved one who suffers from an eating disorder. The fact is, we don’t know nearly enough about diagnosing, treating, and preventing these diseases. Today’s legislation is a major step forward in understanding eating disorders and how to stop them from destroying lives,” said Franken.

“It’s been 10 years since anorexia killed my daughter Anna. And eating disorders have killed thousands of Americans since then,” said Kitty Westin, an eating disorder awareness advocate. “It’s time for Congress to pass FREED as a critical first step in addressing this national emergency.”

It is estimated that at least 5 million Americans suffer from eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa and other eating disorders. Because eating disorders so often go undiagnosed and untreated, the actual number of Americans suffering from eating disorders is closer to 11 million. Tremendous misperceptions about the severity of eating disorders impact the federal resources devoted to eating disorders. First, fatalities resulting from eating disorders are grossly underestimated because they are most often recorded by listing only the immediate cause of death (cardiac arrest, electrolyte imbalance, kidney failure, gastric rupture, pancreatitis or suicide) without reference to the underlying eating disorder. This underreporting is partially responsible for the fact that federal research dollars lag behind research of other diseases when measured by either the number of people affected or by the relative health consequences of eating disorders.

To confront the growing issue of eating disorders, the FREED Act will:

* Expand research on the prevention of and effective treatment of eating disorders: Coordinates research on eating disorders at the National Institutes of Health and across the federal government, and creates research consortia to examine the causes and consequences of eating disorders, and to develop effective prevention and intervention programs.

* Improve the training and education of health care providers and educators: Authorizes grants to medical, nursing, social work and other health professions schools to train health care providers in the identification and treatment of eating disorders, and grants to train teachers and other educators in effective eating disorder prevention, detection and assistance strategies.

* Improve surveillance and data collection systems for tracking the prevalence and severity of eating disorders: Tasks CDC with addressing the lack of accurate information on the incidence and severity of eating disorders. Requires the development of new methods to accurately collect, analyze and report epidemiological data to ensure that the incidence of eating disorders and related fatalities are better understood.

* Prevent eating disorders: Authorizes grants to develop evidence-based prevention programs and promote healthy eating behaviors and in schools, recreational sports programs and athletic training programs.

* Build on existing reform efforts to ensure that treatment is available and affordable: Creates a patient advocacy program to aid people suffering from these diseases and their families negotiate the health care system. Incentivizes states to ensure that adolescents covered by Medicaid are diagnosed and treated

Check it out!

Check out this personal post from Gymhopper over at Buns of Steal.

It's a fitness/gym blogger's post on why she won't be documenting her weight gain/loss as part of her "year of free fitness" experiment.

Recovery in Motion

Recovery in Motion - National Radio Show!

Sunday, May 2, 2010
9:00pm-9:30pm EST

Tune into Recovery in Motion, a national radio show, this Sunday evening!

Jennifer Nardozzi, PsyD, National Training Manager for The Renfrew Center Foundation and Alumni Services Coordinator, will be featured as the guest expert to discuss issues related to body image and eating disorder recovery. She will be joined by Renfrew alumna, Monica Barkley.

Who: Dr. Jen Nardozzi & Monica Barkley

What: ‘Recovery in Motion’ Radio Show
A weekly radio show that talks to those in need of recovery, along with friends and family of those in need of recovery, Recovery in Motion hopes to break down barriers and help addicts, their families and friends stop their behavior and find out where to go for help.

Where: On the radio - WFTL 850 AM (Pompano Beach, FL and surrounding areas) OR on the internet - (LISTEN LIVE online from anywhere in the country!)

When: Sunday, May 2nd, 9:00-9:30pm (EST)

Why: To discuss various issues related to eating disorder recovery.

During the show, you will be able to call in and ask questions by dialing 1-877-850-8585.

Dr. Jennifer Nardozzi will also be on the show on Sunday, May 9th, so be sure to tune in!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Newsweek: Is That Fat Girl Me?

Read the full article here

Imagine you're a relatively thin young woman who thinks she has no issues with food or dieting—certainly no eating disorder. You see a picture of a swimsuit-clad woman with chunky thighs, a noticeable belly and arms that could benefit from a regular triceps routine. Suddenly your brain starts whirring anxiously and you wonder, do I look like that?

Now imagine you're a slim guy, also with no history of eating problems. You see a picture of a man in a swimsuit who looks like he's enjoyed more than his share of fries, beer, and double cheeseburgers. Your reaction is quite different from the woman's—at least according to researchers at Brigham Young University who conducted an experiment just like this.

Neuroscientist Mark Allen and his colleagues used imaging technology to watch brain activity in 19 men and women as they looked at computer-generated pictures of fat people in swimsuits. The nine male subjects in his study didn't appear to make any comparison between a picture of a fat guy and their own bodies. But the part of the brain involved in self-reflection (the medial prefrontal cortex) jumped into action when the 10 women looked at images of fat women, Allen says.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Gay men's body image: Do I look fat?

Read the full article here

"Do I look fat?” If you are the kind of guy who asks this question, please read on.

Did you know that there are guys out there who would be excited about being diagnosed with HIV? To them, this news means that prescriptions for steroids and Human Growth Hormone (HGH) are coming their way, along with an attractive muscular physique. Others even half-joke with their friends about getting a tapeworm to lose weight.

Sounds kinda nutty, doesn’t it? But it’s true.

It just goes to show you that you are one step from finding yourself diagnosed with a psychiatric condition from the Big Book of Crazy, if you’re constantly asking others if you’re fat.

Last time I checked – gay men are gay because they have sex with other men, not because they have a certain body type. These days, it seems to me that many gay men will stop at nothing to be muscular or have six-pack abs, as if this is some kind of prerequisite to being an accepted gay man in our community.

This disturbing belief is not confined to Southern California, where “healthy” lifestyles and fat-phobia dominate.

A 2009 study from the University of Iowa showed that photos of male bodies in The Advocate and Out magazines became thinner and more muscular from 1967 to 2008. Gay men in this study compared themselves to images found in media. If their body did not match those found in the images, the men reported dissatisfaction with their bodies and decreased self-esteem.

Gay men returning from circuit parties and pride festivities will likely feel tremendous pressure to achieve or maintain the muscle-bound, fat-free body type that we are constantly surrounded by.

NTY: A Mother’s Loss, a Daughter’s Story

Read the full article here

Documentary Website

ANDREW AVRIN sits on a beige couch in a nondescript room, a fruit still-life partly visible on the wall behind him, twisting his fingers while, off-camera, an unseen interviewer prompts him to talk about his sister, Melissa, who died last year at the age of 19 after a long battle with bulimia.

“There was no food in the house,” he says, looking off to the side as his eyes fill. “If I went out with friends, I could not bring leftovers home because they would be gone by the next morning.”

Once, he explains, in the middle of a bitterly cold night, he looked out the window and saw Melissa on the curb, going through the garbage. “I went outside and I yelled her name,” he recounts in the interview, his voice breaking. “Just the way she looked back at me — it was so empty, vacant. It was a deer in the headlights, but that doesn’t even explain it.”

It is a hard scene for anyone to watch, but even more so for the film’s producer — Judy Avrin, Melissa’s mother, who decided to make a documentary about her daughter’s life and, ultimately, her death.

People deal with grief in their own ways, and those who have been spared the loss of a daughter or a son can only imagine how they would choose to try to cope. For Ms. Avrin, coping meant confronting her anguish and trying to make something good come out of it.

The idea for a film didn’t occur to her immediately. In the weeks following Melissa’s death, Ms. Avrin mostly avoided her daughter’s bedroom, and tried to resume some semblance of normalcy, going back to work three days a week as the coordinator for a consortium of academic libraries in New Jersey. But one day she sat down to read Melissa’s leather-bound journal.

Someday ...
I’ll eat breakfast.
I’ll keep a job for more than 3 weeks.
I’ll have a boyfriend for more than 10 days.
I’ll love someone.
I’ll travel wherever I want.
I’ll make my family proud.
I’ll make a movie that changes lives.

The film, called “Someday Melissa” and now in the editing stages, has become for Ms. Avrin salve, distraction and cause — a way to get the word out to other families grappling with eating disorders that they are not alone; to sound the alarm that eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness; to help make sense of the senseless event that was losing her teenage daughter.

“I kept saying, ‘This is an amazing way for me to channel my grief,’ ” Ms. Avrin said. “But it also allowed me to put off grieving.”

Ms. Avrin, 56, got the idea for the film from one of Melissa’s therapists, Danna Markson, who introduced her to Jeffrey Cobelli, 27, a filmmaker. Over the last several months of working on the project, Ms. Avrin has come to know more than she ever intended to about eating disorders — how their seriousness has been underestimated, their treatment underinsured, their deaths underreported.

The process hasn’t been easy, and some, like her ex-husband, initially questioned the impulse to do it at all. Melissa’s best friend since first grade, Nicole Kendrick, who also suffers from an eating disorder, said she was incredulous when she first learned that Ms. Avrin was making the film. “I thought she was crazy,” Ms. Kendrick said. “I guess I didn’t realize how deep a mother’s love can run.”

But Ms. Avrin said that making the film has been easier than doing nothing at all. “I’ve never once thought this was more than I could bear,” she said, in an interview at her home in Totowa, N.J. “If anything, the more I continue, the more I know it’s the right thing to do.”

The difficulty of reliving her daughter’s decline has been mitigated by the public response. “Sometimes I think: ‘I’m a suburban mom. Who am I to think I could make a difference in the world?’ ” Ms. Avrin said. “But then I read the messages that keep coming in from people I know and people I don’t know who say Melissa’s story has motivated them to fight one more day.”

Friday, April 9, 2010

Philadelphia Weekely: Eating Disorders In Jewish Culture

"Eating disorders aren’t just for models and white, middle-class teenage girls anymore. First, there was a spike in middle-aged women seeking treatment. Then, it was gay men. Now, it seems Jewish women are the latest population dying to be thin.

"While the spate of recent articles (“Eating Disorders are the ‘Addiction of Choice’ for Jewish Teens,” “Being Jewish in a Barbie World”) and documentaries present conflicting research about the prevalence of eating disorders within the religion, Jewish leaders and eating-disorder experts agree on one thing: There is definitely a problem."

Read the full article here