Health professionals’ and health professional trainees’ views on addictive eating behaviours: A cross-sectional survey

Tracy Burrows, Antonio Verdejo-Garcia, Adrian Carter, Robyn M. Brown, Zane B. Andrews, Chris V. Dayas, Charlotte A. Hardman, Natalie Loxton, Priya Sumithran, Megan Whatnall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Despite increasing research on the concept of addictive eating, there is currently no published evidence on the views of health professionals who potentially consult with patients presenting with addictive eating behaviours, or of students training to become health professionals. This study aimed to explore the views and understanding of addictive eating behaviours among health professionals and health professionals in training and to identify potential gaps in professional development training. An international online cross-sectional survey was conducted in February–April 2020. The survey (70 questions, 6 key areas) assessed participants’ opinions and clinical experience of addictive eating; opinions on control, responsibility, and stigma relating to addictive eating; and knowledge of addictive eating and opinions on professional development training. In total, 142 health professionals and 33 health professionals in training completed the survey (mean age 38.1 ± 12.5 years, 65% from Australia/16% from the U.K.) Of the health professionals, 47% were dietitians and 16% were psychologists. Most participants (n = 126, 72%) reported that they have been asked by individuals about addictive eating. Half of the participants reported that they consider the term food addiction to be stigmatising for individuals (n = 88). Sixty percent (n = 105) reported that they were interested/very interested in receiving addictive eating training, with the top two preferred formats being online and self-paced, and face-to-face. These results demonstrate that addictive eating is supported by health professionals as they consult with patients presenting with this behaviour, which supports the views of the general community and demonstrates a need for health professional training.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2860
Number of pages15
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 18 Sept 2020


  • Addictive eating
  • Clinician
  • Food addiction
  • Health professional

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