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Body Image in the Integrated Prevention of Eating and Weight Disorders

  • Ottavio Bosello
  • Angiola Vanzo
  • Massimo Cuzzolaro
Chapter

Abstract

The rates of obesity and eating disorders (ED) continue to rise and, in the last two decades, a growing number of researchers and scientific institutions have supposed that an integrated approach to the prevention of obesity and ED could be more efficient than the only-focus-programs. An integrated prevention program is designed to provide a coordinated set of health measures aimed at avoiding a series of disturbances at the same time. The development of combined prevention programs for both weight and eating disorders began in the early 2000s. Three questions are critical: (a) is the integrated prevention model for obesity and ED theoretically well-founded? (b) is it supported by empirical research evidence of efficacy and effectiveness? (c) what is the role of body shape and weight concerns?

This chapter reviews some relevant studies that developed and evaluated integrated prevention procedures for obesity and ED. Healthy dieting and a balanced lifestyle are two plausible targets with a focus on at-risk eating behaviors. However, it seems crucial to the success of a project to consider that a negative body image is a well-known risk factor for both eating and weight disorders. Many adolescents are dissatisfied with their appearance, and the numbers are even higher in overweight teenagers. Therefore, most integrated interventions try to promote positive body image, acceptance of different body shapes and sizes, self-confidence, and coping skills with appearance-related emotions. The social stigma of obesity, media literacy, weight talk, and weight-teasing are other related issues. For selective interventions with groups at high risk, it is recommended to set the interventions on cognitive dissonance and media advocacy.

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ottavio Bosello
    • 1
  • Angiola Vanzo
    • 2
  • Massimo Cuzzolaro
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of MedicineUniversity of VeronaVeronaItaly
  2. 2.Department of Food Hygiene and NutritionULSS 8 BericaVicenzaItaly
  3. 3.Formerly Medical Pathophysiology Department, Eating Disorders and Obesity UnitSapienza University of RomeRomeItaly

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