National Eating Disorders Association

DoD to Fund Additional Eating Disorders Research For Military Members and Their Families

NEDA Thanks Senators Tammy Baldwin, Shelley Moore Capito and Amy Klobuchar For Leading Life-Saving Initiative, Backed by Bipartisan Support
30 Million Americans Suffer From an Eating Disorder; Servicemembers at Higher-Risk

NEW YORK CITY — March 27, 2018 — For Immediate Release — In recognition of the critical needs of military members and their families suffering from eating disorders, the Department of Defense's (DoD) Peer Reviewed Medical Research Program (PRMRP) will once again dedicate funds for eating disorders research for prevention, intervention and treatment programs. 

Congress first made eating disorders eligible for funding in 2017 within the $300 million PRMRP with an expected $3 million dedicated towards eating disorders and has again made eating disorders eligible for funding in 2018 within the increased $330 million PRMPR, with an expected $5 million dedicated towards eating disorders. 

Funded through the recently passed Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2018 (Omnibus Bill), the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) thanks Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) for leading the initiative.

Studies show eating disorders affect members of the military at a high rate, with one study reporting that 34% of active duty females showed at-risk signs for eating disorders. Children of military families also reported similar conditions at a significantly higher rate than the civilian population. However, federal funding for research for eating disorders is very limited, with only $0.93 per person affected by eating disorders compared to other diseases such as autism receiving $44 per person affected.

Members of the Armed Forces are also less likely to seek treatment, making prevention programs and access to treatment an imperative need across all branches. This research will greatly benefit many military members, their families and all Americans affected by these potentially life-threatening diseases. 

The PRMRP supports research across the full range of science and medicine, with an underlying goal of enhancing the health and well-being of military servicemembers, veterans, retirees and their family members. 

Increased funding through the PRMRP will offer an important opportunity to continue to study these life-threatening diseases – including anorexia, bulimia and binge eating disorder – that are not well-understood, have limited treatment options and for which military service is associated with a heightened risk.

Commented Claire Mysko, CEO, NEDA, “Eating disorders are complex illnesses that can affect anyone.  However, certain risk factors – including intense focus on physical ability and athletic performance, as well as life-altering events and post-traumatic stress disorder – make military members a particularly at-risk demographic. We are thankful to Senators Klobuchar, Capito and Baldwin for their leadership in fighting for the men and women who sacrifice for our country so they may receive the treatment they deserve. We are hopeful that these research funds will provide support for our servicemembers and have a long-lasting impact on the eating disorders community as a whole.”

Commented Senator Klobuchar, “Members of the military and their children are affected by eating disorders at significantly higher rates than their civilian counterparts and are less likely to seek treatment. Servicemembers and their families deserve the full support of our nation and its resources—that includes researching this particularly deadly mental illness to better understand it and to develop new and more effective treatment options.”

“I am proud to have worked with my colleagues to maintain a strong federal investment in eating disorders research at the Department of Defense for members of the military,” said Senator Baldwin. “We must continue to invest in more research funding and access to treatment so we can make a real difference in the lives of our servicemembers and all families struggling with eating disorders.”

“Eating disorders affect 30 million people in the United States, a percentage of which are members of the military,” Senator Capito said. “We need to provide our service members with the resources they need to live healthy and happy lives. I’m happy we were able to increase funding in the omnibus funding bill to support critical efforts related to eating disorders and I will continue working to draw attention to this important issue.”

Other research programs currently funded through the PRMRP include alcohol and substance abuse disorders, Alzheimer's, autism and breast cancer.

The National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA), headquartered in New York City, is the leading U.S. non-profit organization supporting individuals and families affected by eating disorders. NEDA serves as a catalyst for prevention, cures and access to quality care. Each year, NEDA helps millions of people across the country find information and appropriate treatment resources through its toll-free, live helpline, its many outreach programs and website. NEDA advocates for advancements in the field and envisions a world without eating disorders. For more information, visit www.MyNEDA.org  

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Contacts:

Greenleaf & Associates — 323-660-5800 

Vicki Greenleaf — [email protected]