HHS Awards nearly $1 Million to Address Eating Disorders in Adolescent Girls

Today, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office on Women’s Health announced it awarded nearly $1 million in grant awards to improve early detection and prevention of eating disorders in adolescent girls. The grants will support development of evidenced-based interventions that target COVID-19-related stressors and potential barriers to early diagnosis. These grant awards are part of a larger HHS effort to expand prevention awareness about eating disorders, improve care, and reduce stigma.

Research shows that during the COVID-19 pandemic, the incidence and severity of eating disorders increased, along with barriers to treatment. According to a recent CDC study, the proportion of pediatric emergency department visits among teen girls with eating disorders doubled during this time. Adolescence is a high-risk time for developing eating disorders, but with early intervention, recovery is possible.

“As a pediatrician and adolescent medicine specialist with years of experience treating patients with eating disorders, addressing these serious medical conditions is one of my top priorities,” said ADM Rachel L. Levine, M.D., HHS Assistant Secretary for Health. “We are committed to addressing access to care, eliminating barriers to treatment, and expanding prevention awareness as we work towards a healthier future for all.”  

Award recipients will develop and implement interventions to address modifiable risk factors, encourage behavior change, and improve health outcomes in response to eating disorder challenges intensified by the COVID-19 pandemic. Each project will focus on at least one of the following eating disorders in adolescent girls: anorexia nervosa, bulimia, binge-eating disorder, and/or avoidant restrictive food intake disorder (ARFID).

“The COVID-19 pandemic increased barriers to care for eating disorders. These grants will address gaps in detection, prevention, and treatment for adolescent girls by developing partnerships that integrate physical and mental health aspects of eating disorders among care providers, nutritionists, and community organizations. By building collaborations among care providers across specialties, we aim to integrate treatment and bolster successful interventions,” said Dorothy Fink, M.D., Deputy Assistant Secretary for Women’s Health and Director, Office on Women’s Health.

The recipients will also create partnerships that integrate physical and mental health aspects of eating disorders among care providers, nutritionists, and/or other community organizations. The project period begins September 29, 2022.

The two recipients are:

Recipient State Award Amount
Washington University in St. Louis Missouri $496,000
George Mason University Virginia $485,490

For more information on eating disorders, visit: https://www.womenshealth.gov/mental-health/mental-health-conditions/eating-disorders.

About the HHS Office on Women’s Health: Established in 1991, the Office on Women’s Health (OWH) works to improve the health of women and girls in the U.S. through policy, education, and innovative programs. OWH also coordinates women’s health efforts across HHS, working collaboratively with federal agencies and external partners to address important women’s health topics. OWH is part of the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health (OASH) within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. To learn more about OWH visit womenshealth.gov.

Originally published at https://www.hhs.gov/about/news/2022/09/20/hhs-awards-nearly-1-million-address-eating-disorders-adolescent-girls.html

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