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Treating childhood eating disorders

Resource type
Date created
2024-01
Authors/Contributors
Abstract
Background: Eating disorders involve persistent problematic food intake patterns that result in impaired physical and/or mental well-being. And, given the mental and physical health consequences of these conditions, including higher mortality rates, access to effective treatments is greatly needed.

Methods: To identify effective interventions, we used systematic review methods to identify randomized controlled trials (RCTs) evaluating treatments for eating disorders. After applying our rigorous inclusion criteria, we accepted six studies, all of which compared outcomes for two different treatments, including four RCTs evaluating anorexia treatments and two RCTs evaluating bulimia treatments.

Results: The effects of the interventions were mixed. In two of the anorexia studies, there were no significant differences found between treatment groups. However, the addition of Systemic Family Therapy to treatment-as-usual (TAU) led to significantly more participants with anorexia resuming regular menstruation and meeting the criteria of a positive outcome than in TAU alone. Likewise, more participants receiving Multifamily Therapy had greater BMI improvements than Family Therapy. Both bulimia studies did not find any significant differences between interventions at final follow-up, despite the success of Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy compared to Family-Based Treatment at earlier timepoints.

Conclusions: There are interventions that perform well in treating eating disorders, particularly those involving parents. Despite the success of these treatments outside of Canada, replication studies are needed to ensure they also benefit young Canadians.
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Keywords

Publication title
Children’s Mental Health Research Quarterly
Document title
Treating childhood eating disorders
Publisher
Children’s Health Policy Centre, Simon Fraser University
Date
2024-01
Volume
18
Issue
1
First page
1
Last page
18
Copyright statement
Copyright is held by the author(s).
Scholarly level
Peer reviewed?
Yes
Download file Size
RQ-18-24-Winter.pdf 14.02 MB

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