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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 schools are encouraged to adopt school-wide approaches that encompass (a) sensitivity training to educators and parents that raise their awareness about the role they play in influencing children's (and youth's) body image and how they can learn to recognize and act on incidences of weight discrimination, (b) media literacy and life skills curriculum for both male and female students, (c) school policies that address weight-based teasing, and among other things (d) opportunities for physical activity for all children regardless of their size or shape.

Program of Prevention Research led by Dr. McVey, 2011 
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View Presentation (PDF)

Levine, M. P., & Smolak, L. (2006). The prevention of eating problems and eating disorders: Theory, research, and practice. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Neumark-Sztainer, D., Levine, M. P., Paxton, S. J., Smolak, L., Piran, N., & Wertheim, E. H. (2006). Prevention of body dissatisfaction and disordered eating: What next? Eating Disorders, 14, 265-285. 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