Tipper Gore wants Americans to get free screenings next week for eating disorders.

"Eating disorders are serious illness," Gore told Parade magazine for its Feb. 22 issue. "We almost take them too lightly. Some kids in my daughters' classes went into hospitals for a while."While she never had an eating disorder herself, Gore noted that Princess Diana talked publicly about her bulimia and Ellen Pena, the wife of Energy Secretary Federico Pena, went public about her anorexia. "I wanted to add my voice," she said.

More than 5 million Americans, mostly women, are affected by eating disorders including anorexia, bulimia and binge-eating. About 80 percent of people affected with the disorders respond well to treatment.

Free screenings will be offered from Monday through Feb. 28 at hospitals, colleges and treatment centers, sponsored by the National Eating Disorders Screening Program.