Eating Disorders, Disordered Eating & Body Image


Photo of two people talking on a couch. One appears to be counselling the other.

The Research Exchange Group on Eating Disorders, Disordered Eating & Body Image is a forum where people meet to discuss related research, policy and programming. The Research Group chose its name to reflect the range and inter-connectedness of issues under study. The group connects researchers, community partners, clinicians, health system decision makers, people who relate to this topic and their family members, caregivers, all those with an interest in this important applied health research topic.

See Group Activities and Presentations

See Group Members in the News

Group Conveners
  • Pamela Ward PhD RN (she/her), Research Coordinator,  Centre for Nursing Studies, Adjunct Professor, Division of  Population Health and Applied Health Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, Memorial University

  • Holly Grant, Registered Dietitian, PhD (c) (she/her), Division of Population Health and Applied Health Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, Memorial University.

  • Susan Pardy, PhD RPsych (she/her), Clinical Psychologist and Research Coordinator at the HOPE Intensive Outpatient Program here in St. John’s.

Goals & Objectives

The group is dedicated to promoting and sharing research evidence, to exchanging practice and programming knowledge and to building capacity for more and better research and practice in the area of eating disorders, disordered eating and body image. 


Group Activities & Presentations


May 14, 2024 | Follow-up discussion on NEDIC resources for NL Schools | EDDEBI is facilitating a converation among decision makers in the NL Department of Education and representatives from NL Schools, together with NEDIC and EDFNL to discuss resources that will facilitate evidence informed informaiton sharing about eating disorders and positive body image in NL schools.

April 8, 2024 | NEDIC provides great information about Eating Disorders. Learn how to access resources for teachers, parents, and young people | When the Research and Knowledge Exchange on Eating Disorders, Disordered Eating and Body Image (EDDEBI) held a series of meetings to identify areas where improved knowledge might be required in Newfoundland and Labrador on issues relative to health promotion/eating disorder prevention, many group members identified access to evidence-based resources for teachers, parents, and young people as a top priority— pointing out that information and learning resources are often lacking for people working in the K-12 education system and for families. The National Eating Disorder Information Centre (NEDIC) provides information, resources, referrals and support to anyone in Canada affected by an eating disorder. NEDIC’s work extends from a life-saving helpline to prevention-based outreach and education programming and beyond!  On April 8 2024 Ary Maharaj, M.Ed. RP (Qualifying), Outreach & Education Coordinator at the National Eating Disorder Information Centre at Toronto General Hospital outlined how to access the resources you need—information that can help educators, families, and young people gain a better understanding about Eating Disorders and their prevention.  NEDIC has an extensive catalogue of useful workshops and educational opportunities as well as online information that can assist in your search for good information.


Identifying Opportunities and Gaps | November 30, 2023 | In April, the gourp had reconnected to get a sense of the practice program policy and research landscape in NL related to eating disorders body image. We had 17 people speak at that meeting, representing healthcare, health promotion, community supports, policy planning, research, to discuss their work.  In November, thr group met to strengthen those connections and build momentum going by identifying opportunities and gaps in practice, policy, and research in Newfoundland and Labrador steming from what we learned at the April meeting. The November meeting focused on identifying and exploring topics or themes where collaborative research might happen, or where community partnerships might be needed to support improved understanding about EDDEBI practice and to connect social and health supports, community and health services, and to develop that evidence-informed policy-making on EDDEBI-related topics in the future.

Making Connections and scanning the landscape for EDDEBI practice, policy and research in NL | April 18 2023, 1-3pm Newfoundland time | A conversation about EDDEBI practice, programming, services, policy, and research in Newfoundland and Labrador. We will talk about the work you are doing and use the exchange to inform the group about what is happening and where in Newfoundland and Labrador related to support for people with eating disorders, work in the domain of critical obesity studies, body image, and related areas. A great chance to learn about the landscape and to connect with people from a range of sectors whose work interstects with your interests.


November 4 2022 | 12:30PM Newfoundland Time|  Making Plans for 2022 and 2023 |The Research Exchange Group on EDDEBI has been inactive recently but this term, we are re-convening our long-standing knowledge exchange on issues of research and practice related to eating disorders, disordered eating, and body image. To get the ball rolling, we want to touch base with you, our valued membership to hear YOUR ideas for activities and presentations you’d like to see roll out in 2022 and 2023.  Is there an area of research or practice you’d like to explore with the group?  Have you conducted research in this field?  Are you conducting research now? Are you planning a research project?  Have you been practicing in this area? Providing education and information?  Have you read any interesting articles or discovered new areas of practice/ programming/ policy that you’d like to discuss with those who share your interests? 


November 26, 2020 | The Impact of COVID-19 on Those Affected by Eating Disorders | Isabelle Gauthier, Melanie Bishop, Emily Pye, and Megan Matthews | A group of third year students in the Bachelor of Nursing (Collaborative Program) at the Centre for Nursing Studies, Memorial University presented an overview of a project they have completed with the Eating Disorder Foundation of NL (EDFNL) as partial fulfillment of a community assessment course (N3500). The four students conducted a review of the literature regarding the challenges experienced by those affected with an eating disorder during the current COVID-19 pandemic and shared key findings for this presentation. | Link to Presentation

October 29, 2020 | Moving Data: Exploring Women Runners' Embodied Experiences and Understanding of Body Ideals, Health, and Self-Care Practices | Holly Foley, Doctoral Candidate, Division of Community Health and Humanities, Faculty of Medicine | The purpose of this research is to explore the ways that a regular running practice may facilitate agency for resisting or negotiating dominant cultural norms of the female body. The researcher has utilized a moving methodology to “engage the force of the moving active body” (Markula, 2014, p. 283) to explore how women runners experience their bodies through movement and how this may shape women’s experiences and meaning making of their body, health, and self-care practices. This presentation provided an overview of her doctoral research to date, with a focus on moving methodology and embodied reflexivity. |

February 20, 2020 | An Experimental Examination of Binge Eating Disorder Stigma | Kayla Hollett | Binge eating disorder (BED) is a mental health disorder characterized by recurrent episodes of eating an abnormally large amount of food in a short period of time while experiencing a sense of loss of control. Previous findings suggest that individuals who engage in binge eating are perceived as lacking self-discipline and at-fault for their eating behaviour. However, these studies have failed to distinguish binge eating stigma from weight stigma, often characterizing individuals with BED as ‘overweight’ or ‘obese’. Given that body size is a highly stigmatized trait, the use of weight-based descriptors to characterize individuals with BED represents a confound when attempting to examine the stigma associated with binge eating behaviour. To address this gap in the literature, the current study was designed to examine BED stigma while controlling for weight stigma. Furthermore, given the intersectional nature of stigma, the current study sought to examine the intersection of stigmas associated with binge eating and having a larger body. The results of this research will be presented along with implications for individuals facing stigma surrounding binge eating behaviour. Kayla Hollett completed her undergraduate degree at Memorial and is now completing her master’s thesis research as a member of the MUN Eating Behaviours Lab under the supervision of Dr. Jacqueline Carter-Major. Her current research interests surround eating disorders and stigma, behavioural addictions, and emotion regulation. The project presented today has been funded by a SSHRC Canada Graduate Scholarship (Master’s). | Link to Presentation


October 24 2019 | Rethinking Fat Bodies in Counselling Education | Bahar Haghighat, Ph.D. Candidate, Education | This presentation discussed how counselling education must address weight bias, and how body inclusivity is important. The presenter drew on her experiences teaching a course on diversity in counselling that focused on training culturally-competent counsellors in which she incorporated readings on weight-stigma and fat-phobia. Based on the feedback she received and the conversations she had, she will conclude how a “body-becoming” pedagogy can open possibilities for teacher education and counselling education. | Presentation Slides | Reference List | 

April 18, 2019 | Deviant Bodies: A Content Comparison of Pro-ana and Weight-Loss Blogs | Amy Sheppard, PhD Candidate in the Faculty of Sociology at Memorial University of Newfound and Labrador | Although anorexia is framed as a mental health disorder and weight-loss is framed as a health initiative, Amy Sheppard argues that both involve the same body project – one that encourages thinness as a marker of health and good bio-citizenry. Using content analysis to compare online blogs written by individuals engaged in weight loss and individuals who identify as pro anorexia (pro-ana), this study argues that both groups are engaging in similar behaviours in their attempts to manage their bodies. Weight loss bloggers and pro-ana bloggers demonstrate comparable conduct in the online diaries that detail their experiences of weight loss. Thus, weight loss and anorexia exist on the same spectrum of responsible bio-citizenry, with thinness as an ideal. Amy Sheppard is a practicing Social Worker at a non-profit working with women in the criminal justice system. Her research and clinical interests focus on gender, criminalized women, trauma-informed practice as well as critical obesity/fat studies. Amy is an avid (amateur) dancer who dabbles in backyard homesteading. |

February 7, 2019 | Examining the Relationship Between Insomnia Symptoms and DBT Treatment Outcome in Binge Eating Disorder | Megan Van Wijk, Memorial University | Link to Presentation | 


February 6, 2018 | Increasing Supportive Caregiver Involvement and Decreasing Obstructive Behaviours: Lessons Learned from Emotion-Focused Family Therapy | Adele Lafrance, PhD, C.Psych., Clinical Psychologist and Associate Professor in the Psychology Department at Laurentian University |

Resources from the Presentation:


November 29, 2017 |  Shifting Paradigms: Adopting a Health not Weight Approach | Dr. Pamela Ward | Link to Presentation |

March 23, 2017 | A Critical Examination of Masculine Embodiment in Middle School Males Chris BorduasLink to Presentation |

January 26, 2017 | Making Up Our Own Moves: Using Dance to Explore Experiences of the Body with Women Incarcerated at Newfoundland and Labrador Correctional Centre for Women (NLCCW) | Amy Sheppard | Link to Presentation |


November 10, 2016 | Competing Bodies: Promoting Body Positive Approaches in Sport and Recreation | Holly Foley and Erin Cameron | Link to Presentation |

June 23, 2016 | Across the Lifespan: Examining Critical Approaches to Weight, Body Image, and Health in Diverse Populations | Erin Cameron and Pamela Ward | 

February 25, 2016 | Emotion Focused Family Therapy and the Results of the National Research Study Into the Use of EFFT as a Workshop for Carers | Patricia Nash, Counsellor and Program Facilitator of Eating Disorder Foundation of NL | Link to Presentation |

February 25, 2016 | Overview of Eating Disorder NL's Programs and Services | Cathy Skinner, Education Facilitator at EDFNL | Link to Presentation | 


November 24, 2015 | Access to Mental Health Services for Youth with Eating Disorders | Michael Bartellas | Link to Presentation | 


October 9, 2012 | Don't Panic: Measured Responses to the Obesity Epidemic in NL | Dr. Jacqui Gingras, Ryerson University, School of Nutrition | Link to Dr. Gingras's Presentation | 

Members in the News

Demand for Services | Dr. Olga Heath, a previous co-convener of the REG on EDDEBI, was featured in this article on CBC News. |

Dr. Wallace Ingram Award | The award was presented to Dr. Beausoleil, an Associate Professor of Social Science and Health in the Division of Community Health and Humanities, to fund a project to promote artistic activities and explore the possibility of integrating an arts program in the Faculty of Medicine. |  Link to Story |