National Eating Disorders Association
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Weight-loss diet scams are “a crisis in consumer protection,” said Senator Claire McCaskill in a Congressional hearing this week on false advertising. The Senate Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety and Insurance, led by McCaskill, convened the hearing to “examine the deceptive advertising and marketing practices of weight-loss products and their effects on American consumers.”

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The New York State Senate and Assembly have passed S2530/A5294, legislation that amends the public health law to establish the Eating Disorders Awareness and Prevention Program within the New York State Department of Health.

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In 2010, the family of a 14-year-old girl who was suffering from anorexia filed a complaint against health insurance giant Cigna for denying coverage for the nutritional counseling her doctors deemed necessary. This complaint, and many others like it, prompted the New York Attorney General’s office to launch an investigation into some of Cigna’s practices.

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On October 10th, 200 passionate individuals converged in Washington, DC to meet with their representatives at NEDA’s first Federal Lobby Day, co-sponsored by the Academy of Eating Disorders (AED) and the International Association of Eating Disorder Professionals (iaedp). Despite the government shutdown, the threat of a truckers strike around the city and pouring rain, participants made their way to the Hill to use their voice to make a positive change.

Lobby Day Progress

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Last night, Taryn O’Brien, the manager of NEDA’s STAR Program and first Federal Lobby Day, carefully planned the short walk 301 advocates would take from the Hyatt hotel to the Capitol building. This morning, she woke up to rain.

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New Jersey took a big step forward in addressing eating disorders this week when the School Employees Health Benefits Program Plan Design Committee voted unanimously to approve a program that requires coverage for the treatment of substance abuse issues, eating disorders and other mental health issues.

NEDA applauds Governor Chris Christie for his commitment to insurance coverage for individuals who suffer from mental illness and encourages him and the state of New Jersey to continue working to expand coverage to those on the State Health Benefits Plan as well.

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This year, thanks to the help of NEDA’s dedicated STAR Program Volunteer Advocates, important bills have passed in states across the country!

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NEDA applauds President Obama for his speech at the National Conference on Mental Health on Monday, June 3rd, which emphasized the importance of increasing awareness and understanding about mental health issues. Specifically, the speech tackled three points central to the conversation surrounding mental health in the United States: reducing stigma, access to care, and the real possibility of recovery.

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On March 25, 2013, Governor Bob McDonnell signed the bill for parental education and school screenings for eating disorders into law. This marks a landmark victory in the fight against eating disorders.

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Congresswoman Renee Ellmers (R-NC) will join congresswoman Nita Lowey (D-NY) as co-chair of the National Eating Disorders Awareness Caucus, the mission of which is to increase national awareness about eating disorders and support those who suffer by seeking to enhance prevention, facilitate therapeutic advances and improve access to treatment.

Cognizant of the fact that federal funding for such measures is limited in austere times, the caucus will emphasize coordination with private-sector organizations and initiatives.

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