We are eating disorder specialists working in Canada. Our mission is to increase early identification of eating disorders by facilitating collaboration among parents, family doctors, and specialist eating disorder centres.
There is increasing recognition that illness duration is a significant prognostic indicator with anorexia nervosa (AN). Those with an early onset who receive treatment within two years show a better outcome for at least five years, than those with an early onset and more delayed treatment (1) In addition, those with early onset who are treated early show better long-term outcome if the treatment is family-based rather than individually oriented (2). Secondary prevention in the form of early identification and family-based treatment may bring the best chances for recovery to our patients as well as the lowest costs to our health care system.
Family physicians are in an excellent position to identify eating disorders early because of their relationships with families and the relative frequency of contact with their patients. However, family physicians’ current level of awareness of eating disorders may be a barrier to early identification (3).
Our purpose is to remove the barriers to early identification and treatment of eating disorders, much as has been done in the areas of breast cancer and schizophrenia. In our clinical experience with families where a child or adolescent developed an eating disorder, parents have often told us that they noticed subtle changes in their child’s eating habits before there were any medical consequences that would allow the family doctor to make an eating disorder diagnosis. As such, a potential eating disorder could be identified earlier if family doctors could make referrals to a specialist consultation service when parents express such concerns.
Dr. Ahmed Boachie, MB., ChB., MRCPsych, FRCP(C), FAED is Medical Director, Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services at Southlake Regional Health Centre. There, he is also Director of the Young Adult Eating Disorders Program and the Child and Adolescent Eating Disorders Program, as well as Clinical Director of the Child and Adolescent Day Hospital. He is a Consulting Psychiatrist at Hospital for Sick Children. Dr. Boachie is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry, Faculty of Medicine, at the University of Toronto and an Adjunct Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Neurosciences at McMaster University. He is co-author of numerous scientific articles and book chapters on eating disorders, and is co-author with Karin Jasper of A Parent’s Guide to Defeating Eating Disorders: Spotting the Stealth Bomber and Other Symbolic Approaches. Dr. Boachie has been honored with several awards and/or nominations by medical students, residents, and families of those suffering from eating disorders. He is a Fellow of the Academy of Eating Disorders.
Karin Jasper, Ph.D., M.Ed., RP is a Clinical Mental Health Specialist with the Eating Disorders Program at Southlake Regional Health Centre, Newmarket, Ontario. She also served as team leader for the Day Program for Eating Disorders at Hospital for Sick Children and worked in private practice with young adults and adults with eating disorders. She is Assistant Professor in the Department Psychiatry, Faculty of Medicine, at the University of Toronto. Karin is author or co-author of numerous journal articles and book chapters on eating disorders. She is co-editor with Catrina Brown of Consuming Passions: Feminist Approaches to Weight Preoccupation and Eating Disorders and co-author with Dr. Ahmed Boachie of A Parent’s Guide to Defeating Eating Disorders: Spotting the Stealth Bomber and Other Symbolic Approaches.
- Treasure J, Russell G. The case for early intervention in anorexia nervosa: theoretical exploration of maintaining factors. British Journal of Psychiatry 2011, 1: 5-7.
- Lock, J., LeGrange, D., Agras, W.S., Moye, A., Bryson, S.W., and Jo, B. Randomized clinical trial comparing family-based treatment with adolescent-focused individual therapy for adolescents with anorexia nervosa. Archives of General Psychiatry 2010, 67: 1025-32.
- Lafrance Robinson, A., Boachie, A., and Lafrance, G. Assessment and treatment of pediatric eating disorders: A survey of physicians and psychologists. Journal of the Canadian Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. 2012. February; 21(1):45-52
Selected Articles by Dr. Boachie and Karin Jasper
Physician Role in Helping Adolescents with the social and psychological consequences of obesity.