This is not a post, it's a rant. You've been warned.
So today I got one of my peer reviewed papers back and the reviewer missed one of the main points in my thesis, and therefore couldn't understand why I referenced statistics relating to different races and how they are affected by different eating disorders. Then I got to thinking about how she said that my paper was mostly informative rather than persuasive, and I realized that she was probably right. I kept thinking about what I really wanted out of this, and what I want other people to want, and it led me to come downstairs a do some more research. Well, I was just pissed off by what I found (sorry, but there's really no other way to put it) and I realized that I'm going to have to completely rework this paper because there is something I want from this. I want our federal government to actually back research, prevention, and education with some MONEY, and I want the media to take some responsibility for the content that they expose our children to, and I want people to get up and take a STAND about this! I want people to demand better standard, and I want people to insist that insurance companies treat eating disorders with the seriousness they deserve and to fully cover treatment so that doctors no longer have to release patients well before they're ready to be sent home, so that they can relapse. I want a face to go with the cause, and I want people to be aware that anorexia alone has the highest mortality rate of any other mental illness...ANY other mental illness, for adolescent girls, and that it's 12 times higher than ALL OTHER CAUSES OF DEATH for women aged 15-24. I want people to do something, write a letter, complain to someone if they don't like what they see on TV and magazines.
Did you know that the average American woman is 5'4" tall, and weight about 140lbs, and the average model is 5'11" tall, and weighs 117lbs, and according to the NEDA, only 5% of the population naturally fit those standards? Did you know that "officials in Fiji reported a sudden increase in anorexia and bulimia with the arrival of television in their communities", according to the Renfrew Center Foundation for Eating Disorders? Did you know that the National Institute of Mental Health (who controls the allocation of researching funding in the United States) did not allocate ANY funding for the study, education, or treatment of eating disorders in 1999-2000, and that in 1997 they only allocated 1% of their budget, which then had to be split with obesity and diabetes? Up to 24 million people in America suffer from an eating disorder, in relation to 1.2 million who suffer from HIV/AIDS, and the NIMH provided 1.3 billion dollars to AIDS... and in 2005, they have spent roughly $1.20 per person with eating disorders, compared to $159.00 per person on schizophrenia research, and 75% less than on Alzheimer's research (NEDA)!
So why does the government spend so little money on this ridiculously serious issue, you ask? Because there aren't enough people out there demanding it! Americans will spend their money to vote for the next American Idol, they will go to websites to "demand" that a movie come to their area (just like I did with Paranormal Activity), they'll call or email to their cable companies to say that "they want their MTV", but they can't be bothered to write to their congressman or any other local representative to tell them what's on their mind. We just complain in our houses, or to each other, but not to those who can do something about it, and I'm just as guilty but I can tell you that after this paper is done, I'm sending it to a local representative and demanding that something be done to educate children, fund more research, and push the insurance companies to do the right thing! And I'm challenging anyone within eyesight of this blog post to join me to ask for change. An estimated 480,000 people die from anorexia every year (just anorexia, not counting bulimia or "eating disorder, not otherwise specified" as it's defined in the DSM-IV, and this is truly an estimate because there are so many people who don't go looking for help due to the stigma's surrounding eating disorders, and eating disorders and related deaths are not tracked by ANY government agency like other mental illnesses are (Renfrew). So I'm not going to let my anger pass. I'm not going to sit here so upset that I'm crying tears of frustration because this is just so STUPID! I'm going to follow through, rewrite my paper, and send it to someone who can do something, and then I'm going to contact NEDA and see what I can do because I really want to see this cause be pushed into the forefront like other causes so that no one else will have to google for over an hour just to find out how much we as Americans are spending on this, and who the spokespersons are (Jamie Lynn Seigler if you didn't know...cause I didn't know). So if you're feeling just as indignant about this as I am... DO SOMETHING!