Dear First Lady and President Obama,
As the father of a very special young woman who spent five years in the death grip of an eating disorder, I am deeply troubled by your obviously well-intended, but badly misguided “Let’s Move” initiative, which ambitiously seeks to eliminate “childhood obesity” in a single generation http://tinyurl.com/8hknxyw. A few disturbing statistics should suffice to explain the basis for at least a portion of my concerns:
First, a study conducted by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality reveals that hospitalizations for eating disorders in children under 12 increased by 119% between 1999 and 2006 and, while more current figures are not available, most experts agree those numbers continue to escalate at an equally alarming rate http://www.cnn.com/2012/08/22/health/child-eating-disorders/index.html?hpt=he_c1 .
Second, long before your initiative began (2004), statistics already were showing that 81 percent of 10-year-olds (i.e., 4th graders!) were afraid of being fat, while 72 percent of 7-year-olds were dieting. http://www.news-medical.net/news/2004/05/24/1849.aspx – one can only imagine what those statistics look like today.
Finally, the mortality rate associated with anorexia nervosa alone is 12 times higher than the death rate associated with all other causes of death for females 15-24 years old. http://www.anad.org/get-information/about-eating-disorders/eating-disorders-statistics/ . Simply put, eating disorders are killing our young people – and one of them nearly killed my daughter.
I know both of you are terribly busy right now, which is why I’ve kept this short. However, I would very much appreciate it if you would carve out an hour of your time for us to sit down and talk. I’m quite certain that once you hear just one family’s story (ours) you will understand the gravity of this situation and, hopefully, the compelling and urgent need for critical and long overdue “change” on this important social issue.
Lives quite literally depend on what I hope will be your prompt and “inviting” response.
P.S. I’ll be happy to foot the bill for my trip to D.C., so as not to further burden my fellow taxpayers!