NEEDHAM, Mass., Jan. 21, 2013 – Walden Behavioral Care today announced that two-time gold medalist, World Champion and USA Gymnastics Team Captain Aly Raisman of Needham will serve as a spokesperson for Walden Behavioral Care and the Walden Center for Eating Disorder Education and Research in Waltham.
Raisman was captain of the gold medal-winning U.S. women’s gymnastics team in 2012, and won the United States’ first ever gold medal on the floor exercise and also earned a bronze medal on the balance beam. The Needham native also appeared on “Dancing with the Stars,” making it to the finals of season 16, and has recently returned to the gym for fulltime training.
Raisman was chosen as spokesperson because of her positive perspective on self esteem and body image, emphasis on living a healthy and active lifestyle, and interest and passion in encouraging people to be confident and make smart, healthy choices. She will make appearances at Walden events, both for patients and for the public, in addition to videotaping public service announcements and help educate the public about the dangers of eating disorders by promoting Walden’s School-Based Eating Disorder Prevention Program.
“As a successful gymnast and dancer, Aly can discuss body image issues in a manner that will reach and inspire our patients, while also serving as a role model,” said Walden President and CEO Stuart Koman. “As a young woman who has known people with eating disorders, she also has a unique ability to provide a positive message to adolescents about how to stay healthy and avoid developing an eating disorder. She has achieved much as an athlete and she will help us achieve a great deal as our spokesperson.”
Walden Behavioral Care is one of the country’s leading hospitals for treating eating disorders, including anorexia, bulimia and binge-eating disorder. The Walden Center for Research and Education is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization created by Walden to discover effective treatments for eating disorders, decrease the stigma around mental illness, provide subsidized patient care to save lives, and decrease the number of people who suffer from eating disorders.
“While I have never had an eating disorder, I have known people who have had them and I have seen the effect they can have,” Raisman said. “Given Walden’s commitment to raising awareness about the dangers of eating disorders and providing prevention programs in schools, I’m thrilled to be a spokesperson and hope to inspire people to live confidently and to embrace a healthy, active lifestyle.”
In the United States, 20 million women and 10 million men suffer from, or have suffered from, a clinically significant eating disorder at some time in their life, according to the National Eating Disorders Association. While adolescent girls are especially susceptible, eating disorders can affect anyone, Koman said.
“Most people know someone with an eating disorder and may not even realize it,” Raisman said. “By working with Walden, I’m confident that I can help inspire people to work toward recovery and ultimately encourage them to make choices that will help them live a healthier lifestyle.”
About Walden Behavioral Care
Walden Behavioral Care, LLC of Waltham, Mass., a private psychiatric hospital, treats eating disorders and psychiatric disorders. It is the only facility in New England that provides inpatient, residential, partial hospitalization and intensive outpatient care for patients with eating disorders. It is also the only facility in New England that provides dedicated inpatient care for mood disorders. By treating mental and physical conditions concurrently, Walden helps achieve lasting results for those who seek a meaningful recovery. Walden has satellite locations in Braintree, Worcester and Northampton, Mass., and South Windsor, Conn. Walden created The Walden Center for Eating Disorder Research and Education as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization to educate the public about eating disorders and research treatment. Additional information is available on Walden's website at www.WaldenBehavioralCare.com.