Skip to main content
  • Oral presentation
  • Open access
  • Published:

Do practical food groups work in an eating disorders day program? Long term outcomes of repeated exposure


Practical food groups expose patients to feared foods. This novel intervention is frequently undertaken in eating disorder treatment programs with tasks such as cooking or eating out. This intervention is clinically useful however there is little available evidence to support this approach. This study aimed to assess the effectiveness of practical food groups in a day program, and evaluated the long term outcomes.


Patients with mixed diagnoses attended practical food groups weekly as a standard part of treatment at Derwent House Day Program. A behavioural experiment format was adopted for the groups. 58 patients completed questionnaires at discharge, and data was collected at follow-up time points. Factors that impacted skill generalisability were recorded.


Mean BMI was 20 (BMI range 15-38), mean age was 25, and mean length of stay 7 weeks. 58 patients reported practical food groups as highly important at discharge, using a 5 point Likert scale (mean = 4.8). On follow-up 41 patients returned data, with similar ratings of importance.


Overall, patients found practical food groups the most important intervention in day program treatment. In addition, skills acquired were largely generalised outside of treatment and maintained long term.

This abstract was presented in the Service Initiatives stream of the 2014 ANZAED Conference.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Jessica Wheatley.

Rights and permissions

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. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Check for updates. Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Wheatley, J., Hart, S., McMaster, C. et al. Do practical food groups work in an eating disorders day program? Long term outcomes of repeated exposure. J Eat Disord 2 (Suppl 1), O23 (2014).

Download citation

  • Published:

  • DOI: