Costs of Eating Disorders in NZ: Still Seeking Participants

Research project still recruiting until mid-2019:

The COSTS study is a comprehensive project aiming to find out the broad range of costs of eating disorders experienced by those with a history of an eating disorder (consumers) or those who have cared for someone with an eating disorder (carers). We are interested in any clinically significant eating disorder: anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, binge eating disorder, ARFID, purging disorder, or any subthreshold conditions that have impacted on people’s lives.

The COSTS study has an anonymous online survey, as well as a qualitative interview for those interested in talking in more detail. We are also analysing anonymised national health databases to find out patterns in health service utilisation data across NZ. The COSTS study includes EDANZ as well as eating disorders researchers and clinicians.


A big thank-you to everyone who has already participated – it is exciting watching the numbers grow!  We are keen to have more people tell us about their experiences so we are recruiting until mid-2019. We are doing better on the consumer surveys – we have surpassed our initial target of 250 consumers and have extended this now to aim for 400 consumers. We had hoped to get 200 carers but would be happy to reach 100 carers if we can so please spread the word. You can see below that those targets are quite close now.

Recruitment to date

Consumer surveys:   351

Carer surveys: 81 

Qualitative interviews:   27 qualitative interviews (17 consumers and 10 carers)

The Māori specific interview arm: Tangata Kōmuramura has recently started recruiting (we have a specific team for that based at MIHI, the Māori Indigenous Health Institute at University of Otago, Christchurch). Two interviews have been completed so far – we are aiming for 20 interviews with tangata whaiora with a history of eating disorders or their whānau. 

National database: The initial analyses are underway and we are on track to have a descriptive paper published this year in relation to service usage for eating disorders for all ethnicities (Ruth Cunningham and Vivienne from University of Otago Wellington are taking the lead on that project).

Interest from students: Another exciting aspect of this project is that it is now attracting interest from potential students who want to work in eating disorders research. We now have two student projects underway based on this study: a Masters of Nursing project examining the carer perspectives (Louise), and a PhD project (Roma) and three junior researchers involved with the project. This is promising for the future of research capability in eating disorders.

We would love to hear from anyone who wants to participate in the COSTS study and in particular we would like to hear from more consumers or carers in relation to:

Binge Eating Disorder, Bulimia Nervosa, ARFID

We would like to hear from more Māori and males with eating disorders View Tangata Kōmuramura information brochure here [pdf]

If you want to read more or are interested in participating, please go to:  

If you have any questions, please contact ph +64 3 372 6700 

For Tangata Kōmuramura , please contact Mauterangimarie Clark ph +64 3 364 3688