A teenage girl from Warwickshire has written an open letter to the government following the recently announced ‘Better Health’ legislation to tackle obesity.
Ella Sparks from Southam believes the scheme, which will see calories being listed on all menus, could be detrimental to those with eating disorders, or those who are at risk of developing one.
The 19-year-old is currently recovering from anorexia herself, so has written an open letter to the government expressing her concerns.
Her letter addresses her personal perspective, alongside research which suggests calorie counting is an ineffective way of tackling obesity.
Speaking to CoventryLive, Ella said: “The reason I wrote the open letter is because if I think about all of the advice I was given throughout my treatment, this legislation is the complete opposite.
“I have first-hand experience of how calorie counting can cause an eating disorder.
“I completely understand why people may need to watch the amount they’re eating and the calories they’re consuming, but I don’t feel like everyone’s needs have been considered.”
Ella was diagnosed with anorexia in June of 2017. She spent around two years receiving treatment, but it wasn’t successful.
In March this year, a new method has been implemented which has been successful. Ella is now well on her way to recovery.
In her letter, she says: “Recovery is a daily battle for me and millions of others attempting to recover from either a diagnosed eating disorder or disordered eating behaviours/dieting, and this is only exacerbated by the ever-prevalent diet-culture we are surrounded by.”
She continues: “Challenging things like meals out are hard enough for someone in recovery, and this change will only exacerbate the anxiety around it.
“Going for meals out is a popular social event and something that everyone deserves to enjoy guilt-free. By introducing this rule, you will be fostering an association between food and guilt and encouraging people to see food as something with a moral value.”
Ella explains she has sent her letter to local politicians and is going to post it to 10 Downing Street.
“I know that there may be no change in the legislation, but I felt I had to get my point across,” she said.
“When I shared it on my social media, so many people reached out to me, either saying they hadn’t thought about it from my perspective or that they also struggled with eating. Many thanked me for putting into words how they felt.”
If you would like to read Ella’s letter, you can do so here.