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Guidelines for Prevention

Current research indicates that teaching students about eating disorders is ineffective in changing their eating attitudes and behaviours. Moreover, this approach may be harmful since some students might learn to glamorize disturbed eating behaviours. Instead, communities including schools are encouraged to adopt a multi-pronged approach to prevention that includes (a) adult influencer training with a focus on self-reflection of personal attitudes towards food, weight and shape, as well as weight bias and weight science literacy, b)  individual skill building including media literacy to help ward off pressures to conform to appearance ideals, (c) ways to create supportive environments, free of weight based bullying, to name a few.

Suggested readings:

Levine, M. P., & Smolak, L. (2021). The prevention of eating problems and eating disorders: Theories, research, and applications, 2nd ed. Routledge/Taylor & Francis Group. (no handout as this is a book)

Book chapters/research articles
McVey & Antonini (2016). Training service providers View Article (PDF)
McVey & Antonini (2016). Universal Prevention View Article (PDF)
Levine & McVey (2015). Developing an Ecological Approach to ED prevention: The Ontario Project View Article (PDF)

O'Dea, J. A. (2005). Prevention of child obesity:‘First, do no harm’. Health education research, 20(2), 259-265. View Article (PDF)

O'Dea, J. (2000). School-based interventions to prevent eating problems: First do no harm. Eating Disorders, 8, 123-130. View Article (PDF)


The Ontario Ministry of Health (MOH) in partnership with:

  • The University Health Network (Toronto General Division)
  • The Hospital for Sick Children
  • Provincial network of specialized eating disorder service providers

Contact Us

Ontario Community Outreach
Program for Eating Disorders

University Health Network
Toronto General Hospital
200 Elizabeth Street
Toronto, ON, M5G 2C4