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Keywords:

  • adolescents;
  • eating disorders;
  • prevention;
  • families;
  • home environment;
  • anorexia nervosa;
  • bulimia nervosa

Abstract

Objective:

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

Method:

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

Results:

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.

Discussion:

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