COLUMBUS – State Rep. Bride Rose Sweeney (D-Cleveland) today announced the unanimous passage of House Bill (HB) 591 out of the Ohio House Health Committee. Rep. Sweeney’s bipartisan legislation, jointly sponsored by Rep. Gary Click (R-Vickery), designates the last week in February as “Eating Disorders Awareness Week.”
“House Bill 591 is an opportunity for Republicans and Democrats to increase awareness around the harsh realities of eating disorders, and provide hope, support, and visibility to the many individuals and families they affect every day in Ohio,” said Rep. Sweeney. “Eating disorders impact all Ohioans, especially young people, and I hope this bipartisan legislation will be a candle of light for those too often suffering in darkness.”
Eating Disorders Awareness Week is an annual campaign by the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) that takes place during the last week in February. According to the NEDA, 95 percent of people with eating disorders are between the ages 12 and 25 - largely children and teens who are a primary audience for social media. Too often overlooked and misunderstood, eating disorders have the second-highest risk of death of any mental illness (next to opioid addiction), per 2021 data from the NEDA.
“Teens face increasing challenges every year and we cannot sit idly by allowing them to fend for themselves. This is why Rep. Sweeney and I have reached across the aisle to draw focus and attention to our hurting youth,” said Rep. Click. “Increased awareness on critical topics like this will help bring solutions one step closer to hurting families in crisis.”
The pandemic has resulted in a marked increase in mental health illnesses, making it more important for Ohioans to recognize and better understand the severity of eating disorders. HB 591 now awaits further consideration on the floor of the Ohio House of Representatives.