For Immediate Release:
March 28, 2013

Contact: Matt Michelson
(573) 751 - 2272
Senator Pearce and Legislators host 5th Annual Missouri Eating Disorders Advocacy Day in the State Capitol

JEFFERSON CITY — State Sen. David Pearce, R-Warrensburg, welcomed to the State Capitol today volunteers from the Missouri Eating Disorder Association (MOEDA) and other advocates who took to the halls of the building to discuss with legislators the devastating long-term effects of body image issues and eating disorders on today’s citizens.


“In today’s world of appearance-focused attitudes, making it through a day without considering outside opinions is practically impossible,” Sen. Pearce said. “The mental damage caused to the between 10 to 15 percent of Missourians suffering from some form of serious eating disorder is bound to be detrimental and long-lasting.”


Volunteer advocates for eating disorder awareness gathered in the Capitol, including National Eating Disorder Association (NEDA) awareness advocate 2008 Miss America Kirsten Haglund, to speak on such topics as body image concerns, personal stories of struggle and the need for expanded insurance coverage for those suffering with the complex mental and physical issues of eating disorders.


According to MOEDA, more than 200,000 Missourians are currently battling an eating disorder, with one in five college-age women admittedly engaged in an eating disorder, while only 10 percent of sufferers will actually acknowledge their disease and seek treatment.


“I know a number of citizens that have been personally affected by this damaging cycle,” Sen. Pearce said. “All insured Missourians deserve the right to medical treatment, no matter the affliction. Eating disorders are killing our children. We can no longer stand by and push both the disease and those suffering with its issues under the rug and pretend that they don’t exist.”


While the rally was taking place, Senate Bill 161, sponsored by Sen. Pearce, was on the Senate floor, and was passed through the Senate to the House for its consideration by a vote of 32-2. The measure calls for the Joint Committee on Legislative Research to conduct an analysis of the financial impact of providing insurance benefits for the treatment of eating disorders.