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  • Oral presentation
  • Open Access

Missed opportunities around school support of FBT for adolescents with anorexia nervosa: facilitation and barriers to supervised eating

Journal of Eating Disorders20131 (Suppl 1) :O62

  • Published:


  • Cystic Fibrosis
  • Anorexia Nervosa
  • Emotional Wellbeing
  • Chronic Health Condition
  • Education Sector

The aim of this qualitative study was to explore the interface between the health and education sectors to better understand how to support adolescents with chronic health conditions. In-depth interviews were conducted with parents (n=38), school (n=16) and health staff (n=11). Parents of adolescents with three conditions (anorexia nervosa [AN, n=11], cancer [11] and cystic fibrosis [CF, n =16]); were interviewed as these conditions each benefit from specific health supports to maintain schooling which is central to peer relations, emotional wellbeing and future financial independence. Parents of adolescents with AN reported that support for parent supervised eating at school during phase one of Family-Based Treatment was either absent or inconsistent. Parents perceived lack of physical space, poor understanding by school staff, and their child's concerns about privacy were barriers to supervised eating. While teachers recognized the reasons for health support for students with cancer, teacher supervised eating was viewed as a medical intervention for which they lacked training. Parents of adolescents with CF were able advocates for their child, while the lack of support for supervised eating for the AN cohort appeared to compromise educational participation. Parents perceived such support would help maintain their children's connectedness to peers and school.

This abstract was presented in the Children and Youth Treatment and Service Development stream of the 2013 ANZAED Conference.

Authors’ Affiliations

Centre for Adolescent Health, Royal Children's Hospital, Australia
Department of Paediatrics, The University of Melbourne, Australia
Murdoch Childrens Research Institiute, Australia
Royal Children's Hospital Education Institute, Australia
Parenting Research Centre, East Melbourne, Australia
School of Public Health and Preventitive Medicine Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences, Monash University, Australia


© Bowtell et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. 2013

This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.