Saturday, March 14, 2009

A challenge to my readers

A front page article in yesterday's New York Times made me weep. (I've chosen not to upload the photo that ran with it because it is so very distressing. But please read the article.) It's one of the things I love most about journalism: Its ability to shake readers up and make a story personal. Agenda-setting, we call it--telling readers not what to think but what to think about.

I know that children around the world are hungry. But somehow this one image and story brought home the issue vividly and powerfully.

There are children right here in the U.S. who are this hungry, of course. Probably right in your hometown--no matter where you live.

So here's my challenge for the day: I'd like those of my readers who can afford it to make a donation--no matter how small--to an organization somewhere in the world that feeds children. It could be the U.N.'s World Food Programme, which is working in India. It could be Feeding America (which used to be called America's Second Harvest), which addresses hunger here at home. It could be Mazon, a national nonprofit agency that describes itself as a Jewish response to hunger, or any one of dozens of other anti-hunger organizations.

Give money if you can. Bring a can of soup to your local food pantry if you can't. But do something--today. And then please check back in and let us know what you've done.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Put your money where your heart is . . .

and consider making a donation to the Academy of Eating Disorders' 2009 scholarship campaign.

One of the sad truths in the field of eating disorders is that there just isn't enough research being done. That's one reason for the relatively ineffective treatments we've got--there's not a lot of money to be made by researching EDs, probably because pharmaceuticals don't typically do much to help. So researchers--especially young researchers--have to find other ways to support their work.

One of the things I really like about the AED as an organization is the ways in which it nurtures research. And this is one of them. Since 2002, the scholarship fund has helped fund more than 50 clinicians and researchers from around the world to work on finding solutions for eating disorders. It's a worthy cause--and tax-deductible, too!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Dietitians and fat bias

This study, which shows that dietitians (like doctors) suffer from a significant amount of fat phobia, does not surprise me. Why should dietitians be different from any other group of medial professionals?

One or two sessions with a dietitian is really all it takes to learn the necessaries on nutrition for someone recovering from an ED. Yet our family--like so many others--was told to make weekly appointments with a nutritionist.

As it happens, the nutritionist we saw was not fatphobic; she was just ignorant about how to talk to my daughter. In fact she was a very tall and large woman who told Kitty, at our one and only appointment, "Don't worry, honey. I used to have an eating disorder too, and look at me now."

It was almost funny, really, except that it took hours of reassurance to get my daughter back on track.

Which is why I like to talk to medical professionals--not just about eating disorders but about attitudes toward fat, obesity, and "wellness" curricula in schools.

So if you know of a group of doctors, nurses, nutritionist, or other medical professionals in training or in practice who could benefit from a talk, let me know.