Friday 5 April, 2019

PictureThe 2019 AWS chairs are pleased to announce addition of a Keynote Address on Obesity Policies and Impact on Eating Disorders
Workshop on Eating Disorders in Children and Young People – The State of the Art
by Dr Dasha Nicholls.
Keynote Address on Obesity Policies and Impact on Eating Disorders:
Significant progress has been made on the development and dissemination of evidence-based interventions for eating disorders in the past 10 years, yet sometimes it can feel as if we are swimming against the tide. For example, in the UK, despite considerable investment in community care of young people with eating disorders, services are reporting increasing referrals year on year, with particular increases in younger children and in previously overweight young people. At the same time, obesity prevention policy is high on the public health agenda in most high-income countries and increasingly in low and middle-income countries and the direction of travel will be for this to increase. The potential downsides of action on obesity are little considered or can appear expendable. There are likely to be small changes we can make that influence the messaging and direction of obesity policy that minimise impact on ED.Obesity policy is multifaceted, but invariably includes a focus on increasing nutritional awareness and encouraging activity. It often includes education campaigns specifically targeting children. The research evidence supporting the concerns is as yet limited, as is the dialogue between obesity policy researchers and eating disorders researchers. For example, calorie labelling of food has little or no benefit in terms of reducing calorie consumption, but does impact the eating behaviour of those with eating disorders (Haynos and Roberto 2017). The other prevailing concern is the impact of weight stigma among the public and among health professionals, for which a large body of evidence exists outlining its negative impact.This talk will look at examples of the interaction between action on obesity and eating disorders with a focus on those targeting children and young people. Without such dialogue between the fields, there is a risk of public health policies having little or no benefit for the majority whilst causing significant harm to a minority.Workshop on Eating Disorders in Children and Young People:
This workshop will focus on feeding and eating disorders presentations in childhood and early adolescence. We will revisit the criteria for Avoidant Restrictive Food Intake Disorder, and the way that the eating disorders (anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa and binge eating disorder) present in younger patients, using illustrative case examples.

We will explore the early signs of eating disorders, unhelpful weight management practices that young people rehearse, and how parents can help if they recognise their child is struggling with their weight, eating or body image, including the influence that parents can exert during childhood and adolescence to help mitigate the impact of cultural influences, including social media and diet/body image culture.


​The keynote address is included in the Friday registration.
Delegates who are not attending the workshop series, can select to attend just the keynote address at a nominal cost. Click here to register for Dr Nicholls’ keynote/workshop or the entire workshop series.

Updated registration rates and program now available on the website.

For any questions please email us at


Dr Dasha Nichols is Reader in Child Psychiatry at Imperial College London, where she leads the Child and Adolescent Mental Health research team in the Centre for Psychiatry. Prior to this she led the National Eating Disorders Service at Great Ormond Street Hospital, London. Her research focuses on risk factors and early intervention for disordered eating behaviour, and seeks practical and scale-able solutions, from parent training to policy change, that directly influence outcomes.

Dr Nicholls is Past President of the Academy of Eating Disorders and instigated development of the British Eating Disorders Society.