Online Interventions Effective for Eating Disorder Treatment
> 8/24/2006 11:46:21 AM

Early intervention and preventative care can often increase the odds for a positive health outcome while also cutting down on costs to both patients, doctors and insurers. This is true of things like exercise or oral hygiene, and now a new study funded by the NIMH has found that online interventions designed to prevent eating disorders can be successful in helping those who are found to be at risk. Performed in the San Francisco and San Diego areas, the study first identified 480 college-age women who were considered at risk for an eating disorder.

In the randomized, controlled trial one group was asked to participate in an Internet based intervention program designed at Stanford's behavioral science multimedia lab called "Student Bodies" that had been previously shown to be effective in helping develop healthy body images and manage weight concerns. The intervention was found to be most effective in two specific subgroups of the overall study population: women with a baseline body mass index of 25 or more and women who already showed signs of eating disorders such as self-induced vomiting or diet pill usage. In both of these high-risk groups, outcomes for the intervention group were found to be significantly better than those in the control at both the one and two year markers.

This study shows that interventions can prove immensely helpful. Researchers here looked at college-age students, a group which could very easily be targeted with a program like "Student Bodies" through their university. Eating disorders are particularly difficult to treat, which is why early intervention and preventative care are such strong options. The Stanford designed program contains several parts, including monitored chats and self-directed reading and journaling. These types of treatments have a much broader application, and like the telepsychiatry we discussed yesterday, should help bring psychological services to underserved communities as high speed web access becomes more readily available.


Nice post, keep the good work.
Posted by: Rehab saved my life 8/25/2006 12:13:36 PM

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