New funding for eating disorder research

A new federal strategy has been unveiled on how eating disorders will be treated in Australia during the next decade.

© Mick Tsikas/AAP PHOTOS Greg Hunt says the strategy is aimed at backing eating disorder research and supporting families.

The new Australian Eating Disorder Research and Translation Strategy will focus on how those with conditions such as anorexia and bulimia can be cared for through new research and treatment.

The 10-year strategy, developed through a $4 million grant, has highlighted 10 areas in need of more research, such as early identification, access to treatment and prevention strategies.

It’s estimated about one million Australians are living with an eating disorder at any given time.

Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt said the new strategy will aim to improve the health of those with an eating disorder.

“Strengthening eating disorder research and translation in Australia will ensure that we find and deliver the latest and best possible support for those impacted and their families and carers,” Mr Hunt said.

“Tragically, eating disorders have one of the highest mortality rates of any psychiatric illness, with anorexia being the deadliest of all mental health conditions.”

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The new strategy will aim to back new research into making access to treatment in Australia equitable, how medicine could be personalised for patients and how families can be used to help support those with eating disorders.

It comes after funding of almost $27 million in the most recent federal budget for eating disorder research, which included $13 million for a national eating disorder research centre.

Assistant Minister for Mental Health David Coleman said more was needed to be done to understand eating disorders.

“This new dedicated centre of excellence will lead ground-breaking research to help advance our understanding of eating disorders and the most effective approaches to prevention, early intervention and treatment,” he said.

“It will also ensure that Australia remains at the forefront of the international efforts to combat these devastating illnesses.”

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