NW Pediatric & Family Nutrition now is offering and highly recommends an evidence-based treatment approach for teen eating disorders called Family-Based Treatment (FBT). This approach has been shown to be highly successful in helping young people who struggle with eating disorders such as anorexia, bulimia, binge eating disorder, and even ARFID. FBT is considered a gold standard for teen eating disorder treatment and the best method for treatment to avoid a higher level of care.
FBT is a collaborative approach that involves the whole family in the treatment process. The aim of FBT is to empower parents as primary caregivers to support their child’s recovery. In this treatment model, caregivers play an active role in the treatment team and are responsible for helping their child to restore their health and well-being.
FBT is Divided into Three Phases:
This stage focuses on weight restoration and is designed to provide support and guidance to the caregivers as they help their child achieve a healthy weight. Caregivers are encouraged to take an active role in planning, preparing meals, plating and supervising their child’s eating, and providing emotional support. The research shows us that until a child/teen is back on their growth curve and has restored their weight, they can’t make logical decisions for themselves when it comes to their recovery. Typically in this phase, the dietitian meets only with the caregivers, and weight is restored before moving to phase two.
This stage focuses on transferring control of eating back to the child. Caregivers are encouraged to gradually relinquish control and allow their child to take responsibility for their own eating. The dietitian works with the family to help them navigate any challenges that may arise during this stage.
In the final phase, the focus is on maintaining the progress made and developing healthy coping strategies. The dietitian works with the family and the teen to help them develop a plan for relapse prevention and to build on the skills and strategies that they have learned during treatment.
FBT is a highly effective approach to treating eating disorders in young people. Research has shown that it is particularly effective for adolescents with anorexia nervosa and has been found to produce significant improvements in weight, eating behavior, and overall psychological functioning. It’s important to note that recovery isn’t always linear, and sometimes, stepping back a phase is necessary if there is a setback.
The dietitian’s role in FBT is to help the family develop a meal plan that meets the patient’s nutritional needs while addressing their individual preferences and challenges. The dietitian will determine a target weight range goal by viewing growth charts, considering their puberty stage, and calculating projected height goals. The dietitian can also educate and support the family about the importance of proper nutrition and its role in the recovery process.
In addition, the dietitian helps the family develop strategies for dealing with mealtime challenges and encourages the family to work together to make mealtimes a positive and supportive experience for the patient.
Overall, FBT is a collaborative and supportive approach that involves the entire family in the treatment process. FBT is used to keep a teen out of a higher level of care and provide a full recovery. With the support of a dietitian, caregivers can play a vital role in their child’s recovery from an eating disorder.
Please view our resource page for additional resources on FBT.