Santarsiero introduces eating disorders legislation

State Rep. Steve Santarsiero has introduced legislation requiring schools to provide parents of children in fifth through 12th grades with information about eating disorders.

House Bill 433 also would create guidelines for local school boards that exercise an optional development of an eating-disorder screening program with appropriate opt-out and exemption procedures.

Santarsiero has requested a public hearing on the bill in front of the House Education Committee.

House Bill 433 further specifies training requirements for the personnel and volunteers who would run such a program, including the parental notification procedures required when a school official identifies a student with a potential eating disorder.

“Eating disorders are real, complex and devastating conditions that can have serious consequences for health, productivity and relationships,” Santarsiero said. “These serious conditions are not a fad, phase or lifestyle choice, but instead are potentially life-threatening conditions that affect a person’s emotional and physical health.”

In the United States, 20 million women and 1 million men suffer from eating disorders at some point in their life, including anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa or a binge-eating disorder. In Pennsylvania, nearly 300,000 women and more than 130,000 men suffer from an eating disorder.