A UK-wide survey of healthcare professionals’ awareness, knowledge and skills of the impact of food insecurity on eating disorder treatment

Carina Kuehne, Amelia Hemmings, Matthew Phillips, Başak İnce, Michelle Chounkaria, Camilla Ferraro, Caroline Pimblett, Helen Sharpe, Ulrike Schmidt*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
11 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Objective: Food insecurity (FI) is associated with significant adverse effects on health and well-being and increasingly recognised as a global problem. The current study explored the impact of FI on eating disorder (ED) clinical practice in the UK, aiming to assess healthcare professionals' (HCPs) knowledge, skills and views on the topic of FI in their patients. Design: This study was an exploratory, mixed-methods, descriptive analysis of online survey data collected from ED HCPs in the UK between September and October 2022. Measures: A 15-item survey with rating and open-ended questions was circulated to ED professional organisations in the UK. Descriptive statistics were used to summarise quantitative data, including perceived prevalence of FI in ED clinical practice and confidence in knowledge on the topic. Descriptive content analyses provided insight into perspectives on FI screening and aspects to be included in guidance and resources. Results: 93 ED HCPs completed the survey (40.9 % psychologists). Findings demonstrated healthcare providers' limited knowledge on FI and its relation to EDs, while they increasingly perceive it in their patients, as well as a general lack of available resources on how to address FI in ED treatment. HCPs stressed the need for practical guidance and formal training for dealing with FI in their patients, as well as implementing routine screening. Conclusion: These findings provide both important directions for future research and clinical applications related to screening, assessment, treatment and support of food-insecure patients with EDs.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101740
Pages (from-to)101740
JournalEating Behaviors
Volume49
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May 2023

Keywords

  • Food insecurity
  • Eating Disorders
  • Clinical practice

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