A Review of Eating Disorders and Disordered Eating amongst Nutrition Students and Dietetic Professionals

Publication: Canadian Journal of Dietetic Practice and Research
17 February 2015


The diet industry and media have a powerful influence over women, leading many to believe that they must modify their appearance for societal acceptance. Dietetics, as one of many predominantly female professions, may be particularly vulnerable to these pressures. An integrative review process was used to examine eating disorders and disordered eating within the dietetics profession with the aim to both synthesize existing data and develop questions for future research. Seventeen articles were reviewed using broad search terms and dates because of the dearth of available literature. Given nutrition programs and dietetic practice often involve significant exposure to food, ideas and opinions about food, weight, and its place in health and dietetic practice researchers were compelled to ask “why”. Findings were organized under 3 categories including thinness ideology, implications of food and body associated with nutrition or dietetic education, and establishment of a continuum. This review serves as a platform to inspire future research in an understudied but important topic related to dietetic education and practice. Minimally as a profession, baseline data need to be collected to understand the prevalence of disordered eating and eating disorders along the continuum of practice in Canada.


L'industrie des régimes amaigrissants et les médias ont une forte influence sur les femmes, faisant croire à bon nombre d'entre elles qu'elles doivent modifier leur apparence pour être acceptées par la société. La diététique, puisqu'elle constitue l'une des nombreuses professions principalement exercées par des femmes, peut être particulièrement vulnérable à ces pressions. Un processus de synthèse a été utilisé pour examiner les troubles alimentaires au sein de la profession de diététiste, dans le but de synthétiser les données existantes et de formuler des questions pour la recherche ultérieure. Dix-sept articles ont été examinés. Des dates et des critères de recherche étendus ont été employés en raison de la pénurie de documentation. Puisque les programmes de nutrition et la pratique de la diététique comportent souvent une exposition considérable aux aliments, aux idées et aux opinions liées à l'alimentation, au poids et à sa place dans la santé et la pratique de la diététique, les chercheurs étaient tenus de se poser des questions. Les résultats ont été présentés sous 3 catégories : l'idéologie de la minceur, les impacts sur l'alimentation et le corps de la formation en nutrition ou en diététique, et l'implantation d'un continuum de pratique. Cette revue se veut une plate-forme visant à inspirer de futures recherches sur un sujet lié à la formation en diététique et à la pratique de la diététique qui, bien qu'important, fasse l'objet de trop peu d’études. Au minimum, dans le contexte de la profession, des données de référence doivent être recueillies pour comprendre la prévalence des troubles de l'alimentation dans le continuum de la pratique au Canada.

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Supplementary Material

Supplementary Table 1 (cjdpr-2014-031suppl.pdf)

Information & Authors


Published In

cover image Canadian Journal of Dietetic Practice and Research
Canadian Journal of Dietetic Practice and Research
Volume 76Number 1March 2015
Pages: 38 - 43


Published online: 17 February 2015



Heather Mciver Mahn RD
Department of Applied Human Nutrition, Mount Saint Vincent University, Halifax, NS
Daphne Lordly DEd, PDt
Department of Applied Human Nutrition, Mount Saint Vincent University, Halifax, NS

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