Is the neglect of exercise in anorexia nervosa research a case of running out of ideas or do we need to take a LEAP of faith into the future?
About this resource
There is now a general consensus that Anorexia Nervosa (AN) is a serious mental disorder, with adolescent females being at the most risk for developing this debilitating illness. Although unhealthy exercise was documented in the earliest descriptions of the disorder, it remains a significant barrier to recovery. There has been a dearth of research as to what is best practice to address over-exercise in both the inpatient and outpatient treatment of adolescents with AN. Despite calls to the broader research community for more action (e.g., the Meyer, Taranis and Touyz (2008) article entitled: Excessive exercise in the eating disorders: A need for less activity from patients and more from researchers), such appeals appear to have been largely ignored. The most recently published clinical practice guidelines for the treatment of eating disorders emphasized how important it was for clinicians to pay specific attention to over-exercise when assessing their adolescent patients presenting with AN. However, without scientific evidence and agreement as to what constitutes best practice, no specific recommendations were forthcoming to guide clinicians in addressing this not uncommon presenting problem.