Research has shown that individuals with obesity and comorbid eating disorders are at higher risk for several medical and psychosocial complications than individuals with either condition alone. Yet, healthcare professionals specialising in obesity treatment who do not address eating disorder behaviours, when these are present, will likely see unsuccessful weight loss interventions. Likewise, eating disorder specialists who don’t address weight management with individuals living with obesity may see a lack of engagement with clients, instead, looking to weight loss treatments which can cause further problems for patients already engaging in disordered eating behaviours.
Whilst our objectives and approaches may look different, professionals working in the fields of either obesity and/or eating disorders recognise the common goal of promoting a healthy relationship with food and our bodies. It’s important that patients living in larger bodies and presenting with disordered eating behaviours receive coordinated and effective treatment to prevent any severe physical and mental health consequences.
Kevin Parkinson, First Steps ED CEO, will be joining Shirley Adu-Ntiamoah, a senior registered dietician currently undertaking a doctoral degree in digital family weight management interventions, to explore the impact of therapeutic interventions in the prevention and treatment of obesity, either as an alternative or supplement to clinical intervention.
About First Steps ED
Equity for eating disorder support has always been a core value of First Steps ED, offering support to all ages, genders, backgrounds and presentations. For our team equity starts with education and understanding, which is why we are undertaking a new programme and growing number of partnerships to help us create a forum for change, inviting practitioners and policymakers to consider the key issues for those impacted by eating difficulties and disordered eating behaviours, especially individuals living in larger bodies who find themselves disproportionately considered in the assessment and treatment of eating disorders.
Together through our webinar series and 2023 conference, we want to continue to raise awareness and ensure we learn from those of lived experience to develop effective early intervention and a cost-efficient, joined-up care, integrated pathway that works for patients.
More about our guests
Shirley Adu-Ntiamoah, our first webinar guest, has previously worked on a systematic review and analysis which examined the effectiveness of e-health interventions for the treatment of young people living with obesity or overweight. The review highlighted the potential of e-health interventions, but also the ‘digital divide’ which would otherwise prevent a young person from receiving effective treatment due to the impact their age, gender and socioeconomic status. Shirley is also working as a part of Complications from Excess Weight (CEW) clinic for children which works to address health inequalities by considering culturally appropriate factors and a personalised approach to the intervention and treatment of severe obesity.
Over the next few months, we’ll continue to explore behaviour weight management programmes in relation to therapeutic approaches traditionally associated with eating disorder treatment with the objective is to develop strategic partnerships with the NHS and independent sector obesity services to support a change in the narrative and provide psycho-education and therapeutic services to patients and clients accessing weight management services and support as a new care model.