These two articles from researchers at Loughborough and Duke University discuss some of the research on the link between health-tracking apps and eating disorders. While health trackers don’t cause eating disorders it is important that we all remain “our own investigator” and ask ourselves whether tracking is right for ourselves and our families.
“Eating disorders are incredibly complex and are caused by many different interacting factors. It would be overly simplistic to suggest that tracking of eating and exercise behaviours could cause an eating disorder.But monitoring activity and food intake could inadvertently validate disordered eating and exercise attitudes and behaviours among vulnerable people. And the pressure from devices to be constantly active, and to meet revised, increasing step targets could exacerbate obsessive and self-critical tendencies.”
From Verywell Mind
Apps are not all bad, however, and there are some specifically designed to aid in recovery. The article linked below discusses two of the most common apps and what to look for in an app that supports positive change. Note: we do not directly endorse the use of any specific app, this is provided for informational purposes only.
“Remember that an app is not a substitute for treatment. It is always a good idea to discuss the use of an eating-related app with your treatment team. In addition, keeping track of eating habits with a hand-written food log or diary can help you to better understand your current unhealthy patterns in order to promote change.”
is also an app developed right here in Aotearoa New Zealand. Here, Genevieve
Mora and Hannah Hardy-Jones talk about their app – Love Your Kite.
“There are commonalities with eating disorders, but they are really an individualised experience, so it was important to both women that the app was not one-size-fits-all.”
In the news this month: it is estimated that 100,000 kiwis are living with an eating disorder. The pressure is on for the Government to rethink the system, “beyond simply more beds” including more culturally sensitive approaches for Māori.
"Otago University researcher Mau te Rangimarie Clark said more culturally sensitive treatment also needed to be provided for Māori."It's not just western body ideas — it's that exposure to adversity, so, including poverty, trauma, and familial dynamics."
To read more about the experience of eating disorders among Māori, refer to our October 2023 Newsletter
We are so excited to announce that EDANZ will be launching a new project in 2024! This co-development project was developed by our research sub-committee and aims to identify research priorities that are relevant, meaningful, and representative of the voice of our community. We will want to hear from you in 2024!
For more on how you can contribute, keep an eye on future newsletters and our website.
We acknowledge Joanne Stephenson of Ashburton for her generous bequest to EDANZ for research.
"The ongoing support our family has received from EDANZ has been a vital in the recovery process of our daughter's anorexia. Having a parent who has experienced this journey and has offered stories of recovery has been invaluable to us during difficult times. Resourcing given along with facts and information about the disease has also helped us enormously." – Kate