I thought I'd share my platform statement in order to explain my platform and why I wish to become Miss America to further this effort. As this is only a very brief overview, I will be sharing much more information soon. If you are on facebook and have not done so already, please visit my newly-launched page "Eating Disorders: A Generation at Risk" and join the fight against eating disorders!
Eating Disorders: A Generation at Risk
Both a physical and mental disease, eating disorders affect every age, gender, race, and social class; and infiltrate the health of the mind, the body, and the soul. In the past two decades, America has seen the unprecedented growth of eating disorders in children and adults alike, as societal pressures to be thin continue to proliferate. Consider these statistics:
• 42% of 1st-3rd grade girls want to be thinner
• 81% of 10 year olds are afraid of being fat
• Over one-half of teenage girls use unhealthy weight control behaviors such as skipping meals, fasting, smoking cigarettes, vomiting, and taking laxatives
• In the United States, as many as 10 million females and 1 million males are fighting a life and death battle with an eating disorder such as anorexia or bulimia while millions more are struggling with binge eating disorder
• The mortality rate associated with eating disorders is higher than any other mental illness
With the stakes so high, it is imperative that we face this widespread problem and educate children and adults alike as to the risks and dangers of eating disorders, as well as the importance of developing a proper body image. All people need to know how to recognize the signs and symptoms of eating disorders to help themselves or loved ones; they also need information on treatment and recovery options in order to understand there is always hope for those struggling with these disorders.
By helping adolescents define themselves based on their own talents and inner beauty rather than perceived standards of perfection, we can begin to combat some of the emotional triggers of eating disorders. We all have the right and responsibility to accept ourselves and others by defining beauty on our own terms and loving and respecting our bodies. Achieving this peace can be accomplished through professional treatment and counseling; it is real, it is beautiful, and it is possible for each and every person suffering from an eating disorder.
The title of Miss America, combined with the help of support organizations nationwide, such as the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders and the National Eating Disorders Association, can make a huge difference in the lives of those who struggle with eating disorders and a distorted body image. This nation needs to address this issue, and the Miss America organization can be a fundamental tool in the effort, planting the seed for the change that must occur. When this happens, the lives of over 10 million people nationwide can be changed as despair and inadequacy is replaced with confidence and hope in a brighter future.