Media Coverage

Eating disorders are rising. California bill would require schools to address body shaming

April 17, 2023
The Sacramento Bee
In this Sacramento Bee article, Regional Nutrition Director Jessica Barth-Nesbitt is quoted sharing how the proposed bill could help increase education and awareness, helping to "dispel some of the misinformation that may be in the media around what an ideal or normal body is for people."

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As a teenager with dreams of becoming a professional dancer, Katie Kilbourn often found herself comparing her body to the ones she saw on stage. By age 16, she started engaging in disordered eating behaviors — initially restricting the food she consumed and later purging.

Through therapy and support groups, Kilbourn, 31, of Sacramento, eventually found healing. But it wasn’t until her eating disorders had taken over her life that she says anyone talked to her about accepting and celebrating the body she was given.

“I was well into my late teens before I started hearing people say things like ‘all bodies are good bodies’ or that you can be successful no matter what you look like,” she said. “If someone had talked to me when I was like 12 or younger, I think it would have helped nip things in the bud.”

Assemblyman Josh Lowenthal, D-Long Beach, is hoping a new bill he authored will do just that for young girls and teenagers growing up in California today. That includes his three young daughters, ages 8, 11 and 12.

“They’re coming from a generation that was pushed into social media, especially in the pandemic, without having proper guardrails around its impacts on their emotional development,” Lowenthal said about his daughters. “And I’m seeing the effects firsthand.”

Assembly Bill 10 would require school districts, county offices of education and charter schools to develop and adopt policies and resources about body shaming before the 2025–26 school year.



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