Offering support, practical advice and understanding so you can help your loved one recover from an eating disorder

Eating disorders explained

Understand the causes and symptoms of eating disorders, whether your loved one is suffering from anorexia, bulimia or another form of eating disorder.

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Support services

Most people find helping their loved one on their recovery journey challenging. Many people say it is the hardest thing they have ever done. Becoming informed about EDs and connecting...

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Hope and recovery

Eating disorders are multi-faceted and complex to treat, but full recovery is possible at any stage.

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Get help now

If you believe your child or loved one is suffering from and eating disorder, visit your GP immediately and ask for a referral to an Eating Disorder specialist service. Click below for more ways we can help you.

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EDANZ: Helping the helpers

EDANZ is run by parents, caregivers, and people who have fully recovered from eating disorders. Although we don't have medical qualifications, we've experienced the challenges of eating disorders in real life.

We offer support, help and resources to people caring for loved ones with an eating disorder, but we are not able to offer treatment or medical advice for patients themselves. If you have, or are concerned you have an eating disorder, we urge you to visit your GP. Click here for advice on speaking to your GP for the first time.

If you need advice about someone you care about, get in touch now

Does your loved one have an eating disorder?

If you're worried your child or loved one may have an eating disorder, there is a useful online tool to highlight common warning signs (see below). If you have any concerns, see your GP immediately. Read more »

Early detection and intervention are important 

The Feed Your Instinct (FYI) interactive tool is designed to support parents of children and young people experiencing different types of eating and/or body image problems. EDANZ recommend completing the checklist as it will clearly identify your areas of concern and aid you as you make a decision about how to act on these concerns. It is not safe to ‘watch and wait’ with possible eating disorders in a young person. The FYI checklist once completed will generate a separate printable summary for you to take to your family doctor/GP to help communicate your concerns. (NOTE: The Medical “Pathway” procedures are as implemented in Australia; The New Zealand “Pathway” may vary.)

Full recovery from an eating disorder is possible.  

If you require further guidance or support in helping your loved one with an eating disorder, we are here for you. Please don't hesitate to get in touch: 
Call our Helpline on 0800 2 EDANZ / (0800 233 269) or email us »

F.E.A.S.T. Webinar: Permission to Parent

1:00-2:00pm EST January 18th (7:00-9:00am January 19th NZ time)

After an eating disorder touches a family system, parents and other caregivers often feel they're walking on eggshells. Can they challenge their child's eating disorder? If so, will they damage the relationship with their loved one—or worse? Can they speak their own truths? What happens to structure and rules? Double binds seem to abound. Both the system and the parent’s confidence can get seriously shaken up. Further, it may seem overwhelming to even contemplate setting boundaries that could risk further disruptions or emotional upsets. And yet, those boundaries can be vitally healing, calming, and reparative.

This webinar will empower parents who are struggling with these issues, and more. It will not offer criticism or blame; it will offer insight, guidance, and most of all, permission to parent.

Register here (free of charge):

New Free Educational Programme

F.E.A.S.T. has launched a fabulous new service call the First 30 Days – “designed to transform parents into empowered carers in 30 days”.

The goal of the programme is to change the course of a family’s caregiving journey in just 30 days through a series of daily 30 minute sessions that focus on what parents need to know, both about eating disorders and about providing effective support in recovery. The educational resources offered include written, video and audio content from F.E.A.S.T. and other trusted sources. In keeping with F.E.A.S.T.’s focus on parent support, participants have the option of contacting F.E.A.S.T.’s support team via live chat, email and phone so you can ask any questions that arise during each session.  

The service is free, and you can start at any time and use it at any stage in your family’s journey. You can follow the 30 days service by doing one lesson a day, skipping forward, or all at once: whatever works for you. 

Registration is open now!

Watch the Recording of 11 hours of
2020 FEAST of Knowledge!

"Thanks very much for what I can only describe as a potentially life changing and life saving online day of education and encouragement."

Were you there?

Your tickets allow you to go back and re-watch any or all of the event's content on demand. Read more...

Wish you had been?

It's not too late... even if you missed the live event, you can now purchase a ticket to access the videos.

Access the videos now!

Eating Disorder Carer Support Groups

EDANZ Media Release: 27 November 2020

Eating Disorder services in New Zealand at breaking point 

Record numbers of young people seeking help for eating disorders has services at breaking point with clinicians and health experts meeting today to discuss the unfolding crisis.

Eating Disorders Association of New Zealand (EDANZ) has organised a Hui in partnership with The Werry Centre, the national centre for infant, child and adolescent mental health. Attending will be representatives from the country’s district health boards, phycologists, counsellors, volunteers and sector experts to discuss the “massive increase” in clients, which has put a major strain on already stretched services.

Nicki Wilson, chairwoman of EDANZ, says services cannot meet demand with children as young as age eight having to wait weeks, sometimes months, to be seen for life-threatening eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa.

EDANZ is calling for a sector-led specialist panel, supported by government, to look at what can be done to provide better support. “Eating disorders, like anorexia and bulimia are treatable illnesses – people can get better quite quickly if they are treated early enough, but that’s just not happening.”

Due to long waits nationwide, it’s common for a condition to deteriorate, including life-threatening illnesses like anorexia. “People of all ages have ended up being hospitalised for refeeding while they wait for access to an eating disorder service,” Ms Wilson says.

The mortality rate for people with eating disorders is one of the highest of all psychiatric illnesses. EDANZ has been contacted by families caring for loved ones of all genders, ages, and across all socio-economic and cultural groups, all desperately trying to access treatment.

“DHB clinicians have reported a big increase in paediatric treatment for eating disorders, and this year it has been harder to access treatment than ever before,” Ms Wilson says. “One specialist told me their DHB had more than doubled its paediatric inpatient caseload this past year alone, on the back of already significant increases in previous years.”

EDANZ, who run nationwide support groups and a telephone and email support service, says callers to their 0800 number are four times higher this year, while clinicians in the private sector have reported a nearly triple increase in referral rates.  

Dr Marion Roberts, who runs a private treatment clinic in Auckland, says demand has increased by four times since April this year. “There are always multiple factors leading to eating disorders. The likes of COVID have definitely added to it, particularly for our teen clients.”

EDANZ volunteer Kelly Mahuika, agrees that COVID seems to have exacerbated the situation. This could be due to greater awareness with families spending more time together, along with the stress itself caused by the pandemic, she says. 

“We have parents absolutely desperate for help. We’re hearing of more and more parents taking their children to emergency departments to seek help. I’ve had parents call saying their child has passed out from malnutrition and they don’t know where to turn to for help.”

EDANZ says eating disorder treatment services span the health system, making them fragmented and disjointed. “DHBs run their services differently. Also within each DHB eating disorder treatments cross over into different areas such as mental health, community based treatment and hospital level care.

“There is no single point of view, and worryingly very little data collection,” Ms Wilson says. “We are grateful for the work of the DHB’s, but we must continue collaborating to improve treatment services.”

Other challenges that EDANZ and Hui attendees say they face include a workforce shortage of specialists with eating disorder training. EDANZ would like GPs upskilled so they can more easily identify cases early on and treat patients more proactively in the community whilst they await specialist care. 

Dr Roberts, who trains clinicians in treating eating disorders, says urgent action is needed. “The availability of clinicians skilled and experienced to provide evidence based eating disorder treatment is drastically below what is needed to meet the demand,” she says.

EDANZ are committed to providing clinicians and families with support to improve access to treatment and to achieve better outcomes for individuals battling these curable illnesses – full recovery is possible at any age and any stage.


Please note, this hui is a private event and is not open to media. However experts, clinicians and families are available to provide comment. See below.


  • Nicki Wilson, EDANZ Chair, is available from 1pm for interviews on 027 548 4530
  • From 9am Anna Chalmers is available on 021 679 697. She can connect media with families, medical professionals and EDANZ volunteers.


  • 1737 - free call or text 24 hours a day to talk to a counsellor
  • Healthline - 0800 611 116, available 24/7
  • EDANZ - 0800 2 EDANZ - Support for family of those with an eating disorder.
  • If you think you are suffering from an eating disorder, call your GP immediately for a referral to specialist services.
  • If it is an emergency or you, or someone you know, is at risk call 111.

Participate in Research

Massey University postgraduate student researcher, Ilinka Nikolova is conducting a research project in collaboration with her supervisor, Dr Andrea LaMarre. The objective is to gain insight into NZ women's experiences of using Instagram while in eating disorder recovery.

Click here to check whether you are eligible to participate and to read more >

Project contacts

Student Researcher: Ilinka Nikolova 

Supervisor: Andrea LaMarre

Qualitative Study from the Costs of Eating Disorders in New Zealand Project

A qualitative study from the Costs of Eating Disorders in New Zealand project has been published in the Journal of Eating Disorders

Nine carers of those with eating disorders were interviewed about their perspectives and experiences. They described the both the eating disorder and  treatment having  profound impacts across many facets of carers’ lives, both during and beyond the treatment journey. 

For carers, ‘normal’ life was profoundly impacted by the complicated and often unanticipated role of treatment provider, and navigating the maze of treatment while trying to understand the diagnosis itself. Relationships were significantly affected by the demands of treatment and the serious consequences of the disorder as well as misunderstandings and stigma related to eating disorders. A ‘new normal’ state of constant worry and increased vigilance defined life post-diagnosis. These carers described the he impacts of an ED diagnosis in a loved one, and the demands of assuming the role of treatment provider as life-changing. For these carers ‘life is different now’.

Many thanks to these carers who eloquently told their stories and also to the many others, including EDANZ members, who did the online survey for us on this project. Further papers are being drafted currently. We will  inform you of further findings as they become available. For further information, please contact

Read the full paper here »

Ground-breaking worldwide study results – Anorexia nervosa is both a genetic and metabolic disorder

A new worldwide study involving more than 100 researchers has proved that genetics contributes to anorexia nervosa and found a strong metabolic component to the illness.

The study which collected samples from nearly 17,000 people around the world who have had anorexia nervosa, including hundreds from New Zealand, and compared it to more than 55,000 people who haven’t ever had the illness, found that there were eight genetic variants associated with anorexia nervosa.

Nicki Wilson, EDANZ chair says it is incredibly helpful for patients and families to know that there is a biological basis for anorexia nervosa and to have a new explanatory framework to understand the illness. 

Read more »

Resources for Adults seeking help or in recovery

ROAR Reach Out and Recover is an interactive resource, developed for adults who have eating and body concerns and/or who may be at risk of developing an eating disorder. Eating Disorder Recovery for Adults was developed by Tabitha Farrar after her recovery from a ten year battle with an eating disorder. She is now dedicated to helping others (sufferers and their families) to learn as much as they can in order to recover.

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Podcast interview for parents and caregivers

Full recovery from an eating disorder is possible. Early detection and intervention are important. Parents and caregivers may be interested in this podcast, where Tabitha Farrar talks with an 11-year-old boy about his diagnosis of anorexia, his recovery journey, and his desire and motivation to get well.

More web resources »

Support EDANZ with a tee

Support EDANZ by buying a NopeSisters body love any size T-shirt . EDANZ benefits from every teeshirt sold. The tee is created to celebrate bodies of any size and encourage positive body image. EDANZ is grateful for Nopesisters ' support.

Buy a T-shirt »

Anorexia Nervosa Research – Exciting News!

A landmark study led by UNC School of Medicine and researchers from NZ and around the world has identified the first genetic locus for anorexia nervosa.

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EDANZ submission to the Government Mental Health Inquiry

EDANZ remains extremely concerned about the current state of eating disorder treatment in NZ. Read EDANZ's submission and the results of the survey that informed the submission.

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