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J Am Diet Assoc. 2006 Dec;106(12):2073-82.

Position of the American Dietetic Association: Nutrition intervention in the treatment of anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and other eating disorders.


It is the position of the American Dietetic Association that nutrition intervention, including nutritional counseling, by a registered dietitian (RD) is an essential component of the team treatment of patients with anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and other eating disorders during assessment and treatment across the continuum of care. Diagnostic criteria for eating disorders provide important guidelines for identification and treatment. However, it is thought that a continuum of disordered eating may exist that ranges from persistent dieting to subthreshold conditions and then to defined eating disorders, which include anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge eating disorder. Understanding the complexities of eating disorders, such as influencing factors, comorbid illness, medical and psychological complications, and boundary issues, is critical in the effective treatment of eating disorders. The nature of eating disorders requires a collaborative approach by an interdisciplinary team of psychological, nutritional, and medical specialists. The RD is an integral member of the treatment team and is uniquely qualified to provide medical nutrition therapy for the normalization of eating patterns and nutritional status. RDs provide nutritional counseling, recognize clinical signs related to eating disorders, and assist with medical monitoring while cognizant of psychotherapy and pharmacotherapy that are cornerstones of eating disorder treatment. Specialized resources are available for RDs to advance their level of expertise in the field of eating disorders. Further efforts with evidenced-based research must continue for improved treatment outcomes related to eating disorders along with identification of effective primary and secondary interventions.

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