Treating Eating Disorders: Tips From a Recovered Patient

Eating disorders are on the rise and can now be considered common among adolescent girls.

A Dutch study has found a lifetime prevalence among 19-year-old women of 5.7%, compared with 1.2% in men.

Treating eating disorders: tips from a recovered patient

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But anorexia, bulimia and binge eating disorder are dangerously misunderstood, say the authors. Population studies consistently find that people who meet the diagnostic criteria are falling through the cracks.

“While eating disorders are associated with high mortality and morbidity, international evidence shows that many patients either do not access or do not receive treatment,” they write in the BMJ.

“Indications for urgent referral to specialist mental health services for children and young people include rapid weight loss, body mass index <75% of expected body weight and binge eating and purging several times a day.”

The authors emphasise the importance of intervening early, adding that outcomes in anorexia are especially poor if the patient is not treated within the first three years.

Effective treatment includes building a therapeutic relationship with the family — not just with the patient.

What can be effective, they write, is “conceptualising eating problems as separate from the young person, so that parent and child can team up against the disorder.”

The paper includes some useful tips for GPs, including a perspective by Caitlin, a 17-year-old recovered patient:

  • Advise patients that, even if they look and feel well and are of normal weight, they can still be very unwell.
  • Female patients might find it easier to talk to a female doctor about body image problems, so offering patients a choice of whom to see is helpful.
  • It’s important to speak to the patient on their own, without their parents.
  • Children should be given the same respect as adults, and have their problems taken seriously.
  • Social media can often be an important contributor to illness.
  • Even though patients may find it distressing, hard facts about the physical risks are essential. The patient might respect the information given by a doctor more than that from their parents or families.

This article was originally published by 6 Minutes.

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Australian Youth More at Risk of Obesity

There are renewed calls for a sugar tax, with a report showing Australian youth are nearly twice as likely to be obese as their parents and one in five kids are now overweight before they start school.

The rates of obesity in Australia are damning, says Jane Martin from the Obesity Policty Coalition. She says a tax on sweetened drinks, including soft drinks, must be part of a national action plan, because physical activity guidelines will not solve the problem.

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“We are in a very privileged position in Australia, we have got a strong economy but it will be undone by this public health problem,” warned Ms Martin.

“When you have 71 per cent of men overweight or obese, when you have severe obesity doubling in the last 20 years that’s a serious problem and it’s going to take some time to slow down, let alone turn around,” she said.

Data released by the Australian Institue of Health and Welfare on Friday shows nearly two in three Australian youth were overweight or obese in 2014-15, up from 57 per cent in 1995.

Severe obesity has also increased from 19 per cent to 28 per cent over the past 20 years and people are becoming overweight or obese at younger ages.

The AIHW shows 15 per cent of people born in the mid-1990s were obese at age 18 to 21.

“This is almost double the proportion of obese 18 to 21-year-olds who were born two decades earlier,” said AIHW spokeswoman Lynelle Moon.

A similar pattern was observed for very young children born in the early 2010s.

Between ages two to five, about nine per cent of the children born in that period were obese. However, of children born in the early 1990s, only four per cent were labelled obese.

After smoking, obesity in Australia is the leading burden of disease and requires an urgent policy response from the federal government, says Ms Martin.

“We don’t have a national obesity strategy and we should, looking at a health levy on sugary drinks in particular,” Ms Martin told AAP.

“We also need to protect children from unhealthy food marketing,” she said.

This was originally published by SBS.

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App Addressing Childhood Obesity in Regional Victoria

Australian tech company, Oxil has officially launched the Challenger App and jumped into the deep end from the get-go by including over 1000 students in South West Victoria.

The simple to use app was developed with the purpose of improving health and wellbeing of adolescent children by enabling them to track food intake, level of activity and potentially, break bad habits.

App Addressing Childhood Obesity in Regional Victoria

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“Most health apps focus on either nutrition, fitness or mental health – but not on all three. We wanted to give students the ability for instant and accurate feedback about what’s going on in their body,” said Archie Whiting, Managing Director of Oxil.

The ‘Challenge’ aspect comes in the form of competitions where users can challenge friends or family using the app, reaping rewards and points for newly acquired good habits.

Prior to its official launch, a local focus group in Hamilton were given a special trial to test the Challenger App to reduce childhood obesity and improve the overall well-being in adolescents’ aged 10 -16 in their schools.

Dubbed “The Greater Hamilton Challenge’ it involves 6 regional schools and 1000 students with the one goal – to tackle the alarming obesity issue common to this particular part of Victoria.

A 2015 Deakin Report suggested that across five shires of Victoria’s Great South Coast, including Southern Grampian Shire, 37% of boys and 38% of girls in grade 6 were overweight or obese.

Additional research out of Deakin University and GenR8Change suggests up to 50% of primary school-aged children are overweight and/or suffer childhood obesity.

“Sugar is the new tobacco. Our children’s health is at risk and the experts are telling us that this could be the first generation to experience a shorter lifespan than generations before,’ says Dr. Andrew Hirst, Principal of The Hamilton and Alexandra College.

This was originally published by Food Mag.

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Calls for Mandatory Tests in our Emergency Depts

Regional Queensland children are more likely to be overweight or obese and at risk of developing type-2 diabetes than their Brisbane cousins.

Queensland Health statistics show almost every regional Queensland city has a higher rate of overweight or obese children than the capital.

Calls for mandatory tests in our emergency depts

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Only the Sunshine Coast and Cairns have lower rates of children who are overweight or obese than Brisbane’s north.

In north Brisbane, 21.5 per cent of children are overweight or obese, compared to 23.3 per cent on the Gold Coast, 26.2 per cent in Wide Bay, 27.2 per cent in Central Queensland, 27.3 per cent on the Darling Downs, 27.6 per cent in Mackay, 28 per cent in Ipswich and 30.7 per cent in Townsville.

Experts say mandatory testing for type-2 diabetes in regional emergency rooms could save lives and millions of dollars, while forming healthy exercise habits through regional sport can help with prevention.

This obesity data comes days after we revealed that regional children are quitting school far earlier than their city counterparts. In Brisbane, 81per cent of children get to the end of Year 12, but the figure is barely 50per cent in some rural areas.

It is what caused us to launch Fair Go For Our Kids, a campaign aimed at lifting education resourcing in the regions and addressing associated youth problems.

Diabetes Australia statistics show 81per cent of Queenslanders with type-2 diabetes registered with the National Diabetes Services Scheme live outside Brisbane.

That’s 166,465 people.

Health groups have warned being overweight or obese from a young age significantly increases the risk of long-term chronic diseases.

Diabetes Queensland has called on both major parties to commit to introduce type-2 diabetes screening at hospital emergency departments.

This was originally published by The Morning Bulletin.

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Hundreds of Queensland Children Being Treated for Eating Disorders

Hundreds of Queensland children are being treated in hospital every year for eating disorders like anorexia and bulimia.

New figures released under right to information show there were more than 1000 episodes involving children who were admitted to hospital between the 2014-15 and 2016-17 financial years due to anorexia nervosa.

There were a further 177 episodes when children were treated in hospital for bulimia nervosa over the three-year period.

Hundreds of Queensland Children Being Treated for Eating Disorders

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The number of incidents involving girls far outweighed those with boys, with girls making up nearly 95 per cent of hospitalisations involving anorexia and bulimia.

The hospitalisation of boys with bulimia increased from no incidents in 2014-15 to seven in 2015-16, while there were four incidents in 2016-17 up to the end of March.

Kim Hurst, president-elect of the Australia and New Zealand Academy for Eating Disorders, said there had been a significant increase in the number of children and adolescents presented to hospitals with eating disorders over the past 10 years.

“Hospitalisation is actually used when a young person is malnourished or medically unstable,” she said. “Unfortunately lots of kids still need to go to hospital … because of the extent of their starvation.”

Dr Hurst pointed to the recent use of family therapy in Queensland that aimed to reduce the time young people spent in hospital.

She said early intervention was key and that there was a push across the country to reduce the stigma around eating disorders.

Health Minister Cameron Dick told The Courier-Mail that the State Government would invest $3 million through the Connecting Care to Recovery program in an effort to expand specialist services for those with eating disorders.

“This funding will mean additional clinical support for the child and youth mental health service eating disorders team to provide more free and confidential treatment to children diagnosed with eating disorders,” he said.

AMA Queensland’s chairman of the Council of General Practice, Richard Kidd, said more than one in 10 children with eating disorders were likely to be dead within 10 years.

This was originally published by

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