Development of guidelines for giving community presentations about eating disorders: A Delphi study Academic Article uri icon


  • Concerns exist around how to talk about eating disorders (EDs) due to evidence that suggests discussing ED symptoms and behaviours may cause or worsen symptoms in vulnerable people. Using expert consensus, we developed a set of guidelines for giving safe community presentations about EDs.Participants with professional ED expertise, and people with lived experience of an ED, were recruited for a Delphi study. Nā€‰=ā€‰26 panel members rated 367 statements for both a) inclusion in guidelines, and b) their potential to be helpful (increase knowledge, reduce stigma) or harmful (increase stigma, cause/worsen ED symptoms). After each round of the study, statements were classified as endorsed, re-rate, or not endorsed.208 statements were endorsed by the panel over three rounds. 13 statements were strongly endorsed in the first round, with both people with lived experience and professionals agreeing it is important for presentations to include information on etiology of EDs and to promote help-seeking. Several statements had a high level of disagreement between those with lived experience and professionals, including the idea that presentations should suggest dieting is likely to result in weight gain.The experts were able to develop consensus on a wide range of issues. Panel members, particularly people with lived experience, were sensitive to aspects of presentations that may be harmful to an audience. The guidelines fill an important gap in the literature and provide guidance to those educating the public about EDs; they should, however, be further evaluated to test their efficacy.

publication date

  • 2017