Legislation would require schools to provide information to parents on eating disorders

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HARRISBURG, PA – Legislation requiring schools to provide parents of children in grades 5 through 12 with information about eating disorders was introduced in the House by state Rep. Perry Warren, D-Bucks.

“Eating disorders are real and devastating,” Warren said. “These complex conditions have serious health consequences that impact a person’s productivity and relationships.”

The legislation (H.B. 531) also would create guidelines for local school boards that exercise an optional development of an eating-disorder screening program with appropriate opt-out and exemption procedures, specify training requirements for personnel and volunteers, and provide the framework for parental notification procedures in the event of a positive indication of an eating disorder.

“We have a responsibility to ensure that our children have a way to get the help they need,” Warren said. “These serious conditions are not fads, phases or lifestyle choices, but are potentially life-threatening conditions that affect emotional and physical health. The earlier we can provide help to those who are struggling with an eating disorder, the greater the likelihood of physical and emotional recovery.”

Warren explained that H.B. 531 would make accessing help easier for a child suffering from an eating disorder, as school districts would have materials and resources for parents readily available, and if needed via trained personnel and volunteers in each district, the ability to provide additional support to those students in need of professional services.

In the United States, 20 million women and 10 million men suffer from eating disorders at some point in their lives, including anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa or a binge-eating disorder.

SOURCE: Representative Perry Warren press release