Preventing Eating Disorders in Adolescents

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Eating disorders consist of anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, binge eating disorder, and other specified eating and feeding disorders (OSFED). Many eating disorders onset during adolescence, making this a critical target period for prevention efforts. To date, eating disorder prevention efforts have targeted key risk factors presumed to increase risk of disorder onset. This chapter reviews risk factors often targeted by prevention researchers, common components to existing prevention programs, as well as a selection of specific programs that have received empirical investigation. Three programs have been found to reduce onset of eating disorders in higher risk populations. Additional programs have yielded reductions in critical risk factors and eating disorder symptoms. Overall, despite significant advances in the prevention of eating disorders, many research trials suffer from insufficient statistical power, lack adequate control groups, and need longer follow-up periods. Further research must investigate whether or not promising risk factor reducing programs actually prevent onset of eating disorders.

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Health Promotion for Children and Adolescents

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