The 2008 Miss America, Kirsten Haglund, shares her experience with anorexia to help the next generation of young women.
At the 5th Annual Missouri Eating Disorders Advocacy Day held in Jefferson City, Missouri, the state capitol, Kirsten Haglund expressed how important eating disorder awareness and prevention is to her. Based on her own struggles as a teenager, she knows just how hard battling an eating disorder can be.
Haglund said, ”I do a lot of work speaking with young women around the country of various ages; from elementary school up through college. I can’t tell you how many of them see their friends participating in dangerous dieting behavior and they tease or get teased and they think this is just a phase or it’s just what people do. But so many parents are under that illusion as well, and they think that their child will just grow out of it, and then they lose their child in five years, seven years, or ten years because they struggled with this illness.”
Kirsten understands the complexity of an eating disorder; that it is a mental illness that needs to be taken seriously by parents, teachers, friends, and even the person who is experiencing anorexia, bulimia, or another form of an unhealthy relationship with food and their body. She strongly encourages everyone involved to take action when symptoms are seen in a loved one.
To demonstrate her knowledge base, the former Miss America shares that her anorexia started at age 12. She participated in a professional treatment program, and was living a life of recovery from her eating disorder by the time she graduated from high school at age 17.
Her passion now? To be a part of the change. She is advocating for insurance reform that would require insurance carriers to provide coverage for the diagnosis and treatment of eating disorders, in an effort to allow access to treatment for everyone struggling with an eating disorder.
Watch a video about the eating disorder treatment available at Sovereign Health: