Supporting People with Eating Disorders
Eating Disorders in the Health and Fitness Industry
Eating disorders are mental illnesses in which individuals experience severe disturbances in their eating behaviours and related thoughts and emotions. This can significantly interfere with their everyday life, and can result in potentially life-threatening conditions, affecting emotional and physical health. Eating disorders may be as high as 15% for females and 3% for males (Hay, Girosi & Mond, 2015). Anyone can develop an eating disorder regardless of age, gender, ethnicity or socio-economic status. A number of individuals who experience eating disorders also meet criteria for over-exercising (Bewell-Weissa & Carter, 2010).
The InsideOut Institute and AUSactive recognised the need to develop Eating Disorders Recommendations for the Health and Fitness Industry in order to provide guidance to AUSactive Professionals and the management of fitness facilities when engaging with such clients.
The guideline provides recommendations around identifying warning signs, implementing appropriate actions and identifying suitable referral processes for higher risk clients. These recommendations are not a substitute for industry-wide training and targeted policy development.
What’s in the Guideline?
- Recommendation One – Support a Healthy, Inclusive Environment
- Recommendation Two – Recognise Warning Signs and Refer Appropriately
- Recommendation Three – Identify Suitable Referral Processes for Higher Risk Clients
- Recommendation Four – Identify clients with extreme forms of dieting, binge eating, self-inducing vomiting and misuse of laxatives, diuretics, diet pills or performance and image enhancing drugs (PIEDs) and implement appropriate actions
- Recommendation Five – Support Recovery in Collaboration and Maintain Best Practice
If you are interested in further increasing your knowledge on eating disorders, consider completing the InsideOut Institute's eLearning CEC course – ‘Red Flags': Decision Making and Communication for at-risk Clients in the Fitness Industry or head to the Find CECs tab on AUSactive’s website and type in ‘eating disorders’ to locate CEC approved programs.
Bewell-Weissa., C & Carter., J. (2010) Predictors of Excessive Exercise in Anorexia Nervosa. Comprehensive Psychiatry, 51(6), 566-571. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0010440X10000179
Hay, P., Girosi, F., & Mond, J. (2015) Prevalence and Sociodemographic Correlates of DSM-5 Eating Disorders in the Australian Population. Journal of Eating Disorders, 3(1). DOI 10.1186/s40337-015-0056-