Eating disorders are no joke. If you, or someone you know, has ever suffered from one, then you know just how important early detection and active treatment can be to allow the person to recover.
New legislation will require screenings for eating disorders for all fifth to tenth grader students who attend public school. The goal is to implement a system that detects the earliest signs of an eating disorder.
Virginia is the first state to incorporate a bill on eating disorder screening. Virginia House Bill 1406 has been cleared by the House of Representatives and is now being evaluated and voted on in the Senate. The bill allows public schools to actually administer screenings of students in search of signs and symptoms of behaviors and thought processes that indicate the start of an eating disorder.
The bill also proposes the requirement of public schools to send home educational information to parents on eating disorders, the danger of leaving symptoms undetected and untreated, and on what the bill aims to do to prevent and treat eating disorders in among public school students. Parents will learn what signs to look for in their children and young adults, and what to do next when signs of an eating disorder have been identified in their kids.
Eating Disorder Laws
The ability to detect an eating disorder at an early age and on the disorders onset has been proven to help in the prevention of and effective treatment of anorexia, bulimia, and compulsive overeating disorders. The bill in Virginia, and hopefully other states, if not passed on a federal level, can only help young people from developing full-blown eating disorders.
If a middle school or high school student has started feeling badly about her body, and has decided she wants to decrease the amount of calories she eats each day, and a trained educational professional can ask the right questions to find out about the food restriction ideas, then that young girl can be referred to the proper channels and resources to prevent her from getting to a point where she starves herself to maintain a certain body weight.
Treatment is much less cumbersome, difficult, expensive, and time-consuming when the individual’s eating disorder behaviors are caught early.
Listen to Divya Kakaiya speak on binge eating disorder treatment and impulse dysregulation: