The Anna Westin Act (HR 2515), a bipartisan bill, was introduced last week by U.S. Reps. Ted Deutch (D-Fla.) and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.). Named after Anna Westin, a woman who battled anorexia for five years and died in 2000 at the age of 21, the act would require training for health professionals and school personnel to identify eating disorders in early stages and to provide intervention.
According to EveryDayMatters, a not-for-profit organization supported by behavioral health technology company Netsmart, this is the first time in more than a decade that bipartisan legislation has been introduced in Congress to address eating disorders. The Eating Disorders Coalition estimates that one American dies every hour from a medical condition related to an eating disorder. Early identification and treatment are essential.
EveryDayMatters has also released two documentaries aimed at increasing awareness of eating disorders such as anorexia, which has the highest mortality rate of any psychiatric illness. “The Anna Westin Story” shares the details of Anna's life. And “Your One and Only Human” tells the story of a Virginia woman who finds hope in an unlikely companion. The documentaries also debunk myths and celebrate successes surrounding health and human services issues.