Informing family approaches to eating disorder prevention: Perspectives of those who have been there




The study explored how aspects of the family environment may relate to the onset of eating disorders.


Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 27 individuals currently receiving treatment for eating disorders. Data were analyzed using principles of content analysis.


Eight themes emerged regarding recommendations for families to prevent the onset of eating disorders: (1) Enhance parental support; (2) Decrease weight and body talk; (3) Provide a supportive home food environment; (4) Model healthy eating habits and physical activity patterns; (5) Help your children build self-esteem beyond looks and physical appearance; (6) Encourage appropriate expression of feelings and use of coping mechanisms; (7) Increase your understanding of eating disorder signs and symptoms; and (8) Gain support in dealing appropriately with your own struggles.


Our results can be utilized to generate new theoretical insights as to how parents can raise children with healthy weight-related attitudes and behaviors. © 2008 by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Int J Eat Disord 2009