National strategy for eating disorders unveiled

24 Sep, 2021

Health Minister Greg Hunt unveils a new national approach to eating-disorder prevention, early intervention and treatment in a 10 year strategy developed by the InsideOut Institute.

The strategy highlights 10 areas in greatest need of additional research.

These include treatments, equity of access to services, individualised medicine, family support and stigma.

“Seventy per cent of people with an eating disorder will not receive treatment and, of those who do, only 20 per cent receive an evidence-based treatment,” the strategy states.

“Research is central to the task of preventing illness and reducing the morbidity and unacceptably high death rate from eating disorders.”

Other priorities include boosting the team of experts and health systems adopting research findings.

National Mental Health Commission chief executive Christine Morgan said there had never been a more important time for the strategy.

“Across Australia, we have seen a 25-50 per cent increase in diagnosis and treatment of eating disorders during Covid-19, with lockdown conditions creating a perfect storm for the behaviours that exacerbate or trigger an eating disorder,” she said.

“If left untreated, or access to treatment is compromised, they can impede all aspects of a person’s life and cut too many lives short.”