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Eating & Weight-Related Issues for Vancouver Schools

Vancouver school health manual - Section 9

Vancouver school health manual – Section 9 – Eating and weight-related issues 

If you are concerned about a youth who is preoccupied with their weight, food and body image, or has disordered eating behaviour, you can contact the VCH Eating Disorders Program or Kelty Mental Health Resource Centre

Eating disorder treatment services

The Vancouver Eating Disorder program provides client-centered care that empowers individuals with eating disorders and their families to take responsibility for the recovery process and enhance their quality of life.  The program’s approaches include individual and family therapy and outreach, support groups, nutritional counselling, recreational therapy, group work and specialized medical and psychiatric support.  Consultation and education are also available to community agencies and professionals to promote awareness and early intervention.

Free services are available for children, youth and adults who have Anorexia Nervosa, Bulimia Nervosa and other specified feeding or eating disorders. They do not provide services for individuals with binge-eating disorder. They work with individuals at various stages in the recovery process in collaboration with their primary care providers. 

Call 604-675-2531 for more information. A referral from the primary care provider (family physician or nurse practitioner) is required. Children under the age of 12 require a pediatrician's referral.

The Provincial Specialized Eating Disorder Program at BC Children’s Hospital is a comprehensive, interdisciplinary, specialized program to assess and treat children and adolescents with anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa and other severe eating disorders.. The program emphasizes the involvement of parents / caregivers in the delivery of care. The Program has outpatient, day treatment and inpatient services.

Any child or adolescent (up to age 18) who, in the opinion of a community care provider, is struggling with an eating disorder may be referred for assessment at the provincial program. Access to the program is by referral only and requires the following:

  • A recent physical exam

  • Before- and after-care support by a health care provider

  • Parent / caregiver involvement 

Call 604-875-2345, extension 5984 for more information. Referrals are only accepted from physicians and nurse practitioners.

Provincial adult tertiary eating disorders program provides specialized care for adults 17 years of age and older, who have a DSM V diagnosis of Anorexia Nervosa, Bulimia Nervosa or Other Specified Feeding or Eating Disorder (OSFED).The program at St. Paul’s Hospital provides clinical services, education, research, consultation, outreach and activities supporting a network of services for adults across the province. 

Referrals for assessment and treatment are accepted from secondary eating disorders programs (where available) across the province.  For referral inquiries, individuals can contact the Intake Coordinator at 604-806-8654.

Health professional supported programs

  • Shapedown BC: A holistic approach to weight management issues for children, adolescents, and their families. There are no diets involved in the program. Nutrition education, parental limiting setting, screen time, activity, body image and self-esteem, family meals, communication, and eating out are some of the topics covered at the weekly educational sessions. In addition, families take part in weekly fun activities at their local YMCA or community recreation centre. The program is available in Chinese at the Richmond location. Call 604-875-2345 extension 5984 for more information. Referrals are accepted from physicians and nurse practitioners.

  • HealthLink BC Eating and Activity Program for Kids: Telephone based program designed to support BC children, teens and their families improve their overall health and quality of life.


  • Promoting Positive Body Image

  • Guidelines for Helping a Student with a Suspected Eating Disorder

  • Understanding Eating Disorders in Schools: A Guide of Trauma Informed Practices for School Professionals

  • Here to Help: BC-based website on mental health and substance use, which has a section of body image resources, including how to deal with media images of perfection, resiliency and eating and living well.

  • Jessie's Legacy: Created and operated by Family Services of the North Shore, the program supports BC youth, families, educators and professionals through online resources, live events, social media, and the Love Our Bodies, Love Ourselves movement.  

  • Kelty Mental Health Resource Centre: Call 604-875-2084 or 1-800-665-1822 to access this provincial resource centre that links children, youth and their families with appropriate resources in all areas of mental health and addictions including eating disorders. Free educational events for families, educators & clinicians also available.

  • Kelty Eating Disorders website: Access information for different audiences, including health professional, school professionals, friends, family members, caregivers and people who are struggling with disordered eating themselves. Clarify myths and misconceptions about eating disorders, get basic definitions, find out specific causes and risk factors, and tips for reaching out for help.

  • The Looking Glass Foundation for Eating Disorders: BC-based charity offering a caring community of prevention and support for those suffering from anorexia, bulimia, and other eating disorders — and those who love them.. They offer a range of programs to facilitate eating disorder prevention, early intervention, support, recovery, and sustained relapse prevention.

  • NEDA (National Eating Disorders Association): A wide range of resources on eating disorders, including looking at eating well and feeling good about yourself. The site also provides links to a variety of factsheets on eating disorders in men and boys, including a fact sheet on body image. 

  • NEDIC (National Eating Disorder Information Centre): Canadian non-profit providing resources on eating disorders & weight preoccupation.

SOURCE: Eating & Weight-Related Issues for Vancouver Schools ( )
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