The National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) announced in March that the Long-term InVestment in Education for Wellness (LIVE Well) Act was reintroduced in the U.S. House of Representatives. The LIVE Well Act, originally introduced in November 2018, amends existing United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) school and community-based nutrition education and obesity prevention programs to include eating disorders prevention by incorporating evidence-based, long-term health practices to protect people with eating disorders and improve overall health outcomes of children.
Eating disorders will affect 30 million Americans of all body sizes. Binge eating disorder is the most common type of eating disorder, and 81 percent of those with binge eating disorder live in higher weight bodies. Historically, nutrition education programs have been weight-focused, which can negatively affect those at risk for an eating disorder and increase body dissatisfaction. Two-thirds of children in higher weight bodies are at-risk of developing an eating disorder or engaging in unhealthy weight-control measures.
“It is imperative that any education efforts around food and nutrition include eating disorders prevention and screening for every child independent of weight status,” said Chevese Turner, NEDA’s Chief Policy and Strategy Officer. “This legislation is an important step forward for the millions of people who will experience an eating disorder at some point in their lives.”
The LIVE Well Act demonstrates that weight-inclusive programs, which focus on health being multifaceted, improve the health of individuals with and without eating disorders. Its approach to well-being emphasizes health for all people across the weight spectrum and prioritizes the elimination of weight stigma. The legislation’s focus on long-term health practices includes shifting to an emphasis on overall health and well-being.
Rep. Alma Adams (D-NC) is leading this bipartisan effort to include eating disorders prevention and screening within existing federal nutrition education and obesity prevention programs.
Weight-focused prevention and intervention programs aggravate eating disorders and increase complications with overall health. Eating disorders have the second highest mortality rate of any psychiatric diagnosis, following opioid addiction.
“Federal nutrition education programs help to support healthy-eating and lifestyle choices for families in North Carolina and across the country,” said Congresswoman Adams (D-NC-12). “Allowing the inclusion of eating disorder prevention within the framework for federal nutrition education will promote even greater health and well-being for Americans in the programs who are affected by eating disorders.”
The National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) is the largest nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting individuals and families affected by eating disorders. NEDA supports individuals and families affected by eating disorders, and serves as a catalyst for prevention, cures and access to quality care. Through our programs and services, NEDA raises awareness, builds communities of support and recovery, funds research and puts life-saving resources into the hands of those in need. For more information, visit nationaleatingdisorders.org.
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