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National Bills

The Anna Westin Act 

 

The Anna Westin Act of 2015 has bipartisan support in both the Senate and House of Representatives (H.R. 2515; S. 1865). 

 

Background 

 

Today, eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of all mental illnesses. They are present across people of all ages, races, ethnicities and socioeconomic groups, but women are more likely to have an eating disorder than men. NIMH estimates that the prevalence of eating disorders in the U.S. is approximately 10% of the population. Rep. Ted Deutch [D-FL-21] and Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen [R-FL-27] introduced the Anna Westin Act of 2015 to address eating disorders early identification, intervention, treatment, and contributing factors of the illness.

The Purpose of The Anna Westin Act

 

The Anna Westin Act clarifies congressional intent in the implementation of the Paul Wellstone and Pete Domenici Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008. Eating disorders are treatable when recognized and addressed properly. Therefore, the Anna Westin Act aims to address the three T's– Training, Treatment, and Truth in Advertising. Enactment would: help prevent eating disorders by training health professionals on the early identification and intervention when precursory symptoms and behaviors arise; provide better treatment coverage to those affected by the disorders, thereby decreasing out-of-pocket treatment costs; and shed light on the harmful effects of altered body images in advertising.

How The Anna Westin Act Combats Eating Disorders 

 

The Anna Westin Act, designed to have a zero or almost zero CBO score, is written to help those affected by eating disorders get the care they need by Focusing on the three T's:

Training- Using NIMH and SAMHSA funds, the bill provides training for health professionals, school personnel, and the public to identify eating disorders, intervene early and prevent behaviors that may lead to eating disorders. 

Treatment- Clarifies that the Paul Wellstone and Pete Domenici Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008 includes residential treatment service coverage, affording the same protections as other illnesses.

Truth in Advertising– Requires the FTC to study and report on whether regulation is needed for digitally altered images of humans in advertising and if so, strategies to achieve regulation.

 

CLICK HERE to read the complete bill.  For more information about The Anna Westin Act, please contact the Eating Disorders Coalition www.eatingdisorderscoalition.org.

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