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Nutrition and dietetic practice in eating disorder management

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Abstract Background: 

This review examines the current literature that is available on nutrition and dietetic practice in the treatment of eating disorders. Evidence-based guidelines on nutrition and dietetic practice in the management of eating disorder patients are lacking, as is detailed information on how to implement existing recommendations into day-to-day practice. Methods: 

A search of databases was undertaken, with articles on nutrition and eating disorders being reviewed for strength of evidence, content and relevance to dietetic practice. Core dietetic skills used at the graduate level, such as dietary assessment, were not included in the literature review. Results: 

There were a total of 61 references reviewed that discussed nutrition and dietetic practice in the management of eating disorder patients. Most papers were descriptive papers, with few examining the effectiveness of nutrition intervention. Three papers were surveys that assessed the professional needs and challenges of dietitians who work with eating disorder clients. Conclusions: 

Dietetic practice in the treatment of eating disorder patients is not well defined. Most publications are descriptions of practice, with few evaluating the effectiveness of dietetic work. Dietitians need to move from the clinical arena alone and become more involved in research, evaluating practice and defining a gold standard of nutritional treatment strategies that are best delivered by the dietitian. There is also a need for manualised approaches that can be prospectively examined.

Keywords: dietitian; eating disorder; normal eating; nutrition; refeeding; weight

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, University of Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Publication date: April 1, 2011


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