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New Year’s eve is like every other night;
there is no pause in the march of the universe,
no breathless moment of silence among created things that the passage of another twelve months may be noted;
and yet no man has quite the same thoughts this evening that come with the coming of darkness on other nights
~Hamilton Wright Mabie
Outside of the word ‘Ma’am’ there is another word — the ‘F-A-T’ word that I despise quite vehemently… it’s been refreshing to be rid of at least one of those words this week!
… it’s not “just a phase”.
Potentially life threatening medical complications are ‘common’ in children affected by early onset eating disorders (EOEDs), a study reported in the Medical Journal of Australia has found.
The first prospective national study of EOEDs also revealed major limitations in current diagnostic criteria, possible missed diagnoses and a need for better education of health professionals. The study examined data from 101 cases of EOEDs in children aged five to 13 years, and found that 78% were hospitalised with an average length of stay of almost 25 days.
Study co-author and leading child psychologist Dr Sloane Madden, from Westmead Children’s Hospital, said the results show younger children with EOEDs are presenting with severe disease. “Only 37% of inpatients in the study met the current diagnostic criteria for anorexia nervosa, yet 61% had potentially life threatening complications of malnutrition and only 51 % met the weight criteria,” Dr Madden said. “This suggests the current criteria for diagnosing anorexia nervosa in young children are limited.”
An editorial on the study in the same edition of the MJA highlighted that about a quarter of cases in the study were boys. Editorial author, Foundation Chair of Mental Health at the University of Western Sydney’s School of Medicine, Professor Phillipa Hay, said “The relatively high proportion of younger boys with EOEDs contrasts with men accounting for about one in ten adult cases of anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa,” Professor Hay said. “More research is needed, but the work by Madden and colleagues supports the hypothesis that EOEDs may differ in important ways, including sex distribution and course, from eating disorders with onset in adolescence and adulthood. “It is imperative that research attention is now directed towards understanding why such young children are developing severe eating disorders and how effective identification and treatment can be targeted earlier.”
-SourceMedical Journal of Australia
I often, as many other parents of children suffering from an eating disorder, find myself envisioning what the future may hold for our daughter when she is older, well beyond the preparatory stages of ED recovery-maintenance, living a full, healthy and ED-free adult life will be like; especially when there may come a time when she decides upon a life-long partnership, marriage and/or family of her own.
Wouldn’t it be comforting and assuring to know that the care your son or daughter is receiving now will also be available for him/her and their partner-spouse when and if the time comes?
Thankfully some forward-thinking clinicians from the UNC Eating Disorders Program are working to provide just such a program, which is at this time addressing Anorexia Nervosa, and can continue to implement these necessary and supportive elements towards long-term health and maintenance for those who have loved ones suffering.
*For further information about registering for the program contact at: UCAN@unc.edu or phone: (919)966.3065
As many of you may already be aware of, on February 25, 2009 the Eating Disorders Coalition along with the FREED Foundation and others advocating the FREED Act – The Federal Response to Eliminate Eating Disorders – H.R. 1193, successfully were able to get the bill to the House floor.
The next important step towards getting the bill passed will be taking place on April 1-2, 2009 when EDC holds their annual Lobby Day gathering.
If you are not able to attend this event and/or additionally would like to add your voice towards enacting this important and comprehensive legislation for eating disorders that promotes research, treatment, education and prevention programs please write to your state representatives urging them to learn more and help support the passing of the FREED Act.
Below is a sample letter that can be modified and added with your personal message:
March –, 2009
The Honorable First Name Last Name
United States House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515
Dear Congressman(woman) –,
As a member of the Eating Disorders Coalition and someone who has personally suffered the impact of living with an eating disorder, I am writing you today to ask your support for the Federal Response to Eliminate Eating
Disorders Act (H.R. 1193).
This is the first comprehensive eating
disorders bill in the history of Congress. By focusing on research, education, prevention and treatment this bill is a beacon of hope for the millions of people currently suffering from an eating disorder.
It is estimated that 9 million Americans suffer from anorexia, bulimia, binge eating and other eating disorders. Eating disorders are associated with a host of medical complications including cardiac arrhythmia, cognitive impairment, osteoporosis, infertility, heart failure and most seriously death. In fact, anorexia nervosa has the highest death rate of all mental disorders, upwards of 20%.
Research shows that eating disorders can be successfully overcome with early detection and adequate and appropriate treatment. Unfortunately eating disorders are often undiagnosed by health professionals and/or access to treatment is limited. Less than half of all people with eating disorders receive the treatment needed.
The Federal Response to Eliminate Eating Disorders (the FREED Act) can change these state of affairs. H.R. 1193 will save lives by providing more funds for research so that we can better understand, prevent and treat eating disorders, grant programs that provide training for health professionals, and steps toward better access to treatment coverage.
We urge you to sign on as a cosponsor of the FREED Act. I look forward to
hearing from you. Thank you again for your consideration.