Eating disorders are deadly, disabling mental disorders affecting one in every six females and one in 20 males in the UK. Obesity affects 10% of UK children aged 4-5 years, rising to 20% in those aged 10-11 and nearly 30% of UK adults.
The prevalence of eating disorders and obesity is rising, and these increases disproportionately affect deprived and ethnic minority populations.
Whilst UK policy aims include prevention and early intervention for eating disorders and obesity, efforts are not joined-up. Available treatments are only moderately effective and not accessible for all.
Our theme in Eating disorders & Obesity is building on our successful development of early interventions and new therapies to make them more tailored and scalable.
We take a joined-up approach to eating disorders and obesity, working with the overlap in the mechanisms that underlie them, such as those involved in appetite; the factors that influence them, such as genetics and societal demands; and the behaviours that maintain them. This allows us to identify and evaluate the most promising shared and unique targets for new therapeutic approaches.
Our theme takes a life-course perspective to account for the long-term and fluctuating nature of eating disorders and obesity.
Building on our expertise in complex interventions for mental health, we are continuing to develop novel ‘brain-directed’ neurocognitive and neuromodulation approaches such as transcranial magnetic stimulation.
In the digital sphere we are developing online/app-based and virtual/augmented reality approaches.
By combining multiple perspectives from lived experience, clinical and academic expertise we co-create precise interventions that are specific to the stage of the illness and have potential to be scalable and valuable to the NHS.
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