New national eating disorder strategy launched

The Federal Government has launched the Australian Eating Disorder Research and Translation Strategy 2021-2031, which has been welcomed by Dietitians Australia.

Dietitians Australia CEO, Robert Hunt says the 10-year strategy will provide much-needed support to address an illness, which has only worsened with the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Since the start of the pandemic, we’ve seen a 300% increase in Australians seeing dietetic eating disorder services through Medicare. This number alone is enough to highlight just how necessary a national focus towards this complex psychiatric illness is,” he says.

“With more than four million Australians experiencing an eating disorder or disordered eating, greater research and translation of findings into practice will drive an increased understanding of the illness and innovations in care.”

Eating disorders and disordered eating are multifaceted illnesses that can affect anyone across their lifespan.

The Strategy identified 10 priority areas for further research to ensure best practice.

These included areas such as prevention, early intervention, and health promotion.

“Dietitians have the unique skills to support Australians in eating disorders prevention, early intervention and to provide evidence-informed treatment at all stages of the illness within a multi-disciplinary team,” says Mr Hunt.

“Challenging restrictive eating practices, exploring food beliefs and dispelling nutrition misinformation are just a few examples of how dietitians support Australians to develop a positive relationship with eating and food.”

The 10-year strategy was developed by the InsideOut Institute and included a national consultation process where Dietitians Australia provided comment.

“We look forward to being involved in this strategy to help improve the lives of Australians experiencing eating disorders and support the prevention of this mental health illness,” says Mr Hunt.

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