National Eating Disorders Association

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As we kick off National Eating Disorders Awareness Week 2013, we are excited to announce the release of the Collegiate Survey Project, Eating Disorders on the College Campus: A National Survey of Programs and Resources. The study was launched in response to the volume of requests NEDA receives for information about eating disorder-related services on campuses, as the rate of eating disorders among college students has risen to 10 to 20 percent of women and four to 10 percent of men.

NEDA is very excited to announce that we have partnered with Screening for Mental Health, Inc. (SMH) to launch, a website where people can take a free, anonymous self-assessment to gauge their risk of an eating disorder.

As of February 11th, the Virginia House and Senate have passed legislation for information about eating disorders to be sent to parents of all Virginia public school students. The bill also calls for the Department of Health to work with NEDA and other stakeholders to develop a plan for implementing eating disorder screenings in schools.

So often, it is difficult to bridge the gap between the research community and families that are affected by eating disorders, as many families aren’t getting the information they need to make informed decisions about treatment options. With that in mind, NEDA is beginning a series of blog entries on eating disorders research. It is our hope that these updates will bring new information to families from the academic research community.

I will try and focus on “what’s new and what’s true” with a minimum of professional jargon.

We are very excited to announce that NEDAwareness Week now has its own website to make finding resources, activity guides, events and more, easier than ever! Exciting features of this website include:

School Nurse and Young GirlIn 2013, NEDA will be working with state advocates once again on legislation aimed at adding eating disorders to the list of required school health screenings. Health screenings are required already in many states; in fact, 80% of states currently require vision and hearing screening, and 30% of states require BMI testing for students. Many states have mandatory screening in schools for scoliosis, asthma, and other conditions. No states currently screen for eating disorders, despite the fact that they are the third most common chronic illness among adolescence, with the highest mortality rate of any mental illness. Screenings can lead to early intervention, and could potentially even prevent serious, chronic eating disorders.

All too frequently, eating disorders are not diagnosed until the illness is entrenched and patients have suffered irreversible physical harm. Studies have demonstrated a link between early intervention and better treatment outcomes. If we can get young people - both male and female - recognized as they are just beginning to have symptoms of disordered eating, we could reduce the incidence of full-syndrome eating disorders and the serious secondary health conditions they cause.

The "Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders" (DSM) is due to be publishing the fifth edition in May 2013. As mental health professionals eagerly await the publication, those in the eating disorder specialization are among them. The National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) is most excited about the change in the DSM-5, moving Binge Eating Disorder (BED) from something previously mentioned in Appendix B as a topic for further discussion, to a recognized illness. This change can prove to be significant for many reasons.