Position of the American Dietetic Association: nutrition intervention in the treatment of eating disorders

J Am Diet Assoc. 2011 Aug;111(8):1236-41. doi: 10.1016/j.jada.2011.06.016.


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 team treatment of patients with anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and other eating disorders (EDs) during assessment and treatment across the continuum of care. Diagnostic criteria for EDs provide important guidelines for identification and treatment. In addition, individuals may experience disordered eating that extends along a range from food restriction to partial conditions to diagnosed EDs. Understanding the roles and responsibilities of RDs is critical to the effective care of individuals with EDs. The complexities of EDs, such as epidemiologic factors, treatment guidelines, special populations, and emerging trends highlight the nature of EDs, which require a collaborative approach by an interdisciplinary team of mental health, nutrition, and medical specialists. RDs are integral members of treatment teams and are uniquely qualified to provide medical nutrition therapy for the normalization of eating patterns and nutritional status. However, this role requires understanding of the psychologic and neurobiologic aspects of EDs. Advanced training is needed to work effectively with this population. Further efforts with evidenced-based research must continue for improved treatment outcomes related to EDs, along with identification of effective primary and secondary interventions. This paper supports the "Practice Paper of the American Dietetic Association: Nutrition Intervention in the Treatment of Eating Disorders" published online at www.eatright.org/positions.

Publication types

  • Practice Guideline

MeSH terms

  • Dietetics / standards*
  • Feeding and Eating Disorders / diagnosis
  • Feeding and Eating Disorders / psychology*
  • Feeding and Eating Disorders / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Interdisciplinary Communication
  • Nutrition Assessment
  • Nutrition Therapy / standards*
  • Patient Care Team
  • Professional Role*
  • Societies
  • United States