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Active Projects

Pediatric Research on Eating Disorders and Obesity (PREDO) Unit

PREDO is a research unit combining researchers and clinicians from the Eating Disorders Program (EDP), the Centre for Healthy Active Living (CHAL), and the Healthy Active Living and Obesity Research Unit (HALO). The first of its kind in Canada, the overarching goal of this unit is to build a strong program of research that informs prevention, policy, research, and treatment regarding the joint risk factors associated with eating disorders and obesity, so that a unified approach and management strategy can be created to target both ends of this continuum. 

For more information please contact the PREDO Research Coordinator: Nicole Hammond (; 613-737-7600, x2968)

CHEO Steering Committee: Wendy Spettigue (PI), Mark Norris (CoPI), Stasia Hadjiyannakis (CoPI), Nicole Obeid, Dr. Annick Buchholz

The Youth Eating Disorder and Obesity Screen

Stemming from the growing need of a short, valid and reliable screening tool available for the detection of eating and weight related disorders, the PREDO team is in the progress of developing a decision aid designed to assist primary healthcare professionals in assessing risk for EDs and obesity in child and adolescent patients. The goal is to build a streamlined concise and clinically useful tool within electronic medical records that will guide healthcare interactions on disordered eating, body image, and normative pediatric growth development. Funding provided by the Public Health Agency of Canada.
For more information please contact Dr. Mark Norris: 
CHEO Authors: Wendy Spettigue, Mark Norris, Nicole Obeid 

The CHEO RI and the University of British Columbia partnered to create and launch a survey for physicians involved in the treatment of patients with eating disorders. This survey was developed using the Short Treatment Allocation Tool for Eating Disorders (STATED) guidelines and aims to gain a better understanding of current views regarding the relationships between patients' characteristics and treatments allocation at various levels of eating disorder care, as well as views regarding the use of involuntary treatment.
For more information, please contact the project's Research Coordinator Emily Seale: (, 613-737-7600 ext 3803)

CHEO Authors: Mark Norris, Leanna Isserlin 

Understanding eating disorders in adolescence: A website of support for those caring for a youth with an eating disorder was created to provide support for those caring for a youth with an eating disorder. The website provides educational material aimed to help educate and empower caregivers of youth with suspected or active eating disorders. Caregivers from all over the world have accessed this valuable website.

For more information please visit: /en/canped

Or you can email us at, or call us at (613) 737-7600 ext 3803.
CHEO Authors: Wendy Spettigue, Mark Norris, Nicole Obeid 
Understanding ARFID: An examination of hospital-based presentations, treatment and outcomes

This study is a retrospective chart review of Avoidant Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID) cases treated at CHEO and focuses particularly on ARFID patients who received Maudsley-Informed Family Therapy. This study found that patients with ARFID are complex, resource-intensive, and difficult to treat. Prospective research is needed to better understand factors that optimize care, as well as to determine short- and long-term outcomes.
CHEO Authors: Wendy Spettigue, Mark Norris, Nicole Hammond

Investigating School and Education-Related Experiences as Triggers for Eating Disorder Onset

Young adolescence is a period of high risk for the development of body image concerns and disordered eating. In the last five years Provinces in Canada have adopted public health practices and policies to promote healthy weights which have led to school-wide healthy eating and healthy weight initiatives. To date, there has been little research that has examined the impact (positive or negative) of such initiatives. The objective of this study is to investigate the frequency that school-specific educational experiences were cited at initial Eating Disorders (ED) assessment as being a specific trigger for ED onset. A retrospective chart review of 311 patients between the ages of 8.5 and 15.5 years, admitted over a 17.5 year period (May 1997-November 2014) was completed. This study demonstrated that events (e.g., peer related issues or information taught by a teacher) during school aged years are commonly cited as triggers in ED assessments at CHEO. More results coming!
CHEO Authors: Wendy Spettigue, Mark Norris, Nicole Hammond, Nicole Obeid 
The use of Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) in the Treatment of Adolescent Eating Disorders: A Retrospective Chart Review
To date, there is little research literature supporting the use of medications for the treatment of eating disorders in a pediatric population. A lack of evidence-based studies supporting the use of medications in adolescent eating disorders creates inconsistencies in psychopharmacological treatment practice. This study will provide a descriptive analysis of the various medications prescribed to children and adolescents with eating disorders at the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario. We aim to summarize and disseminate details on current program trends, specifically the administration of psychopharmcological treatment with detailed focus on the use of SSRIs in current practice.
CHEO Authors: Wendy Spettigue, Mark Norris, Nicole Hammond 
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