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January 6, 2012

New Research from the Journal of Adolescent Health

New Research from the Journal of Adolescent Health

Re-posted from Cleveland Center for Eating Disorders (CCED) blog archives. CCED and The Emily Program partnered in 2014.

An interesting article from the Journal of Adolescent Health was recently profiled in the New York Times. This article challenges traditional methodologies for inpatient re-feeding of teenagers with anorexia nervosa. Historically, the protocol for teens hospitalized for anorexia has been to “start low and go slow” with food. However, this often results in much slower weight gain or even lack of weight gain during the first week of hospitalization and may result in a teen being discharged from the hospital at a significantly lower weight than they would have been if they had been re-fed more aggressively. As we know from other literature, not reaching prior growth curves is thought to be the single greatest factor in relapse for anorexia and hospitalization is often utilized to jump-start this vital and necessary weight gain.

While there are still many questions to be answered about the best methodology of feeding individuals in the hospital, the article underlines the basic principles of treatment of eating disorders in adolescents, in particular, those found in Family Based Therapy. Specifically, re-feeding and the cessation of eating disorder behaviors is the most important part of the first phase of treatment. Only after these have been accomplished should other issues involving the eating disorder move to the forefront.

Contributions by Sarah Emerman

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