For Immediate Release:
Jan. 31, 2013

Contact: Matt Michelson
(573) 751 - 2272
Senator Pearce Forms Missouri Eating Disorders Council

JEFFERSON CITY — This week, the Missouri Eating Disorders Council, including Sen. David Pearce, R-Warrensburg, met for the first time to introduce members, as well as discuss and draft guidelines for the committee’s work.

“Eating disorders affect approximately 250,000 Missourians every year,” Sen. Pearce said. “Because of this fact, we can no longer ignore these disorders or attempt to explain them away. Eating disorders are mental illnesses that deserve help and assistance.”

Created by legislation passed in 2010, the Missouri Eating Disorders Council is comprised of representatives from various state departments, medical professionals, lawmakers, educators, and individuals who suffer from eating disorders and family members of sufferers. The goals of the council include utilizing facts and statistics to bring awareness to the debilitation to which victims of these illnesses are subjected and advocating for further testing and aid.

Also from the 21st District and serving the council is Dr. Paul Polychronis, Assistant Director of University Health Services for Counseling and Psychological Services at the University of Central Missouri.

Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any other mental illness, with a 20 percent fatality rate. People with eating disorders suffer major physical complications with severe damage to internal organs, compounded with additional mental conditions, such as panic or anxiety disorders, alcohol and drug abuse, and even post-traumatic stress disorder.

“I am proud to serve on this council and continue the work many of its members have been heading up for years,” Sen. Pearce said. “With this diverse group, certainly we can take this issue beyond its current state and help the growing number of Missourians, both victims and families, who are tragically affected each year.”

Sen. Pearce is serving a two-year term as a legislator on the panel, along with one member of the House of Representatives, Rep. Rick Stream.