The Children and Young People's Service Dietetic Team has bases at West Lane Hospital (Middlesbrough), Mulberry Centre (Darlington), Dragon Parade Clinic (Harrogate) and Lime Trees (York).

The team work with children and young people under the age of 18 years with mental health problems in a variety of settings:

Dietitians are important members of multidisciplinary teams. They are the only qualified health professionals who assess, diagnose and treat diet and nutrition problems at an individual level.

Uniquely, dietitians use the most up-to-date public health and scientific research on food, health and disease, which they translate into practical guidance to enable people to make appropriate lifestyle and food choices.

They are the only nutrition professionals to be statutorily regulated, and governed by an ethical code to ensure that they always work to the highest standard. Dietitians educate on nutrition and dispel some of the myths around food.

Dietitians who specialise in eating disorders have a sound knowledge of the development and maintenance of eating disorders in addition to an understanding of the physiological, psychological and medical aspects. This is underpinned by a broad understanding of mental health and psychological interventions used by other members of the multi-disciplinary team.

Dietetic interventions for eating disorders can include:

Psycho education

Exploration of the short and long term negative effects or consequences and how to stop the following behaviours;

  • Self induced vomiting
  • Laxative use
  • Restricting dietary intake
  • Diuretic use
  • Excessive exercise.

Providing information and education regarding the negative effects of anorexia nervosa:

  • The physical, emotional and behavioural effects of starvation
  • Body image distortion
  • Constipation
  • Osteoporosis
  • Menstrual changes.

Nutrition Education

To help dispel some of the myths surrounding nutrition and to promote a nutritionally adequate diet using evidenced based practice. This may include providing information and education regarding:

  • Re-establishing a normal eating pattern
  • Identifying dietary rules
  • Distortion of hunger and fullness sensations
  • Protein
  • Carbohydrates and energy requirements
  • Dietary fat (why this is a necessary component of a balanced diet)
  • Vitamins
  • Minerals
  • Fluid intake
  • Metabolism.

Meal Planning Advice

Education to promote normal eating including use of the Eat Well Plate model to demonstrate the components of a nutritionally adequate diet. For inpatients and on occasions outpatients an individually tailored meal plan is used to promote weight gain, ensure a nutritionally adequate diet is achieved and to minimise the risk of complications during re-feeding (for example re-feeding syndrome).
Meal planning advice may also be provided for patients who have achieved an agreed ideal body weight and wish to maintain this weight and manage the risk of a relapse.

Monitoring of Nutritional Status

The nutritional status of patients with anorexia nervosa underpins the type of dietetic intervention used. In addition to our clinic work dietitians also take part in policy development, audit, research activities, pathway development, staff and student training.