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National Eating Disorder Awareness Launches New Advocacy Action Plan

As part of 2009 NEDAwareness Week, NEDA has launched the STAR Program, (States for Treatment Access and Research), a multi-tiered effort to unite individuals, family members, treatment providers and advocacy groups. Being introduced in the legislature of 30 state capitals in February/March, the STAR program promotes a charter developed by the Academy for Eating Disorders that addresses the rights of eating disorder patients. Legislative press briefings will be held in 27 of the states (many during NEDAwareness Week) to announce the charter and make policy recommendations, tailored to the individual needs of each state. The program's goal is to raise awareness among local legislators about the challenges in accessing adequate medical care to battle an eating disorder due to unfair practices by insurance companies and, ultimately, to change state law to address those inequities.

"Eating disorders are serious illnesses, not lifestyle choices," says Lynn Grefe, CEO of NEDA. "Like eye color and skin color, our body size is largely determined by genetics. Environmental factors -- societal pressures and the unrealistic images of women we are bombarded with in the media -- may pull the trigger, but genetics loads the gun. While you can adopt a healthy lifestyle and aim to be fit for your particular body type, you cannot change your genes."

For information on NEDAwareness Week, a list of events being held across the nation during NEDAW and eating disorders in general, visit http://www.NationalEatingDisorders.org.