Eating disorders impact around one million Australians and have one of the highest impacts on quality of life out of all psychiatric disorders and are associated with high levels of psychological distress, medical complications as well as premature death and suicide.
Pre-COVID-19 the burden of disease associated with eating disorders was projected to cost the country approximately $70 billion. Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, more and more people impacted by eating disorders and negative body image are needing support, with demand for Butterfly Foundation’s National Helpline webchat service increasing by 120%.
The Butterfly Foundation will run their Body Kind Families program, which will allow them to build upon their existing Love Your Body Week for Schools initiative which encourages positive behaviour changes within a school setting. The Body Kind Families will reach beyond the school setting, providing evidence-informed information, resources and seminars to empower parents to create a home environment that supports positive body image and healthy behaviours.
The development of an eating disorder is influenced by a variety of risk factors, including genetics, psychology and socio-cultural influences, like media messaging and the family environment. Body dissatisfaction is one of the strongest modifiable risk factors associated with an eating disorder.
Through the Body Kind Families program, the Butterfly Foundation aims to:
- Equip parents with knowledge of the risk and protective factors of body dissatisfaction and the links between poor body image, dieting and eating disorders;
- Support parents to create a positive home environment for a young person to develop a healthy body image and healthy eating habits; and
- Build awareness of early warning signs of body dissatisfaction and disordered eating and learn the skills to respond effectively.