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Identifying if Managed Exercise is Possible Through Improved Assessment


Friday, March 24, 2017: 4:00 PM-5:30 PM

Background: This workshop will focus on definitional clarity of important terminology regarding movement in eating disorders, the assessment of exercise, and breakout sessions to discuss difficult cases of pathologically exercising clients.

Objectives: important similarities in key terms such as physical activity, exercise, and active living. current physical activity and exercise assessment techniques relevant to eating disorders. how to identify when exercise should be excluded and when it may be included in eating disorders treatment.

The relationship between exercise and eating disorders is complex and controversial. Inaccurate methods of assessment may be one potential reason for the ambiguity surrounding misconceptions about the functional role and potential management of exercise in eating disorders. That is, the functional role of exercise within eating disorders is very much dependent on whether or not exercise is undertaken for specific purposes (e.g., compensation for binges, affect regulation, weight control, etc.). Many eating disorder studies and clinical experiences have incorrectly identified any physical activity as contributing to the development and/or maintenance of an eating disorder when in fact the individual undertaking the activity may have been doing so with or without purposeful intent (e.g., compensatory behavior, affect regulation, body shape/weight control, etc.). Thus, the physical activity commonly observed in eating disorders best reflects the definition of exercise. This distinction is important because physical activity is an inevitable function of daily life. However, the detriments associated with increased physical activity and eating disorders are a result of exercise undertaken with purposeful intent to elicit a specific outcome (e.g., weight loss, body manipulation, affect regulation, etc.). The focus of this workshop will emphasize definitional clarity of physical activity, exercise, body movement, and active living. Next, a short review of recent advances in the assessment of how body movement patterns may be contributing to eating disorder related detriments will be presented. Finally, break out groups will use this assessment information to examine if identifying the distinction between physical activity and exercise may allow for the management of exercise in eating disorders treatment. This discussion will be guided by applying recent protocols for the use of exercise in eating disorders treatment. Workshop attendees will also have the opportunity to present and discuss difficult cases and explore if exercise is possible for certain clients.

The relationship between exercise and eating disorders is complex and controversial. Inaccurate methods of assessment may be one potential reason for the ambiguity surrounding misconceptions about the functional role and potential management of exercise in eating disorders. That is, the functional role of exercise within eating disorders is very much dependent on whether or not exercise is undertaken for specific purposes (e.g., compensation for binges, affect regulation, weight control, etc.). Many eating disorder studies and clinical experiences have incorrectly identified any physical activity as contributing to the development and/or maintenance of an eating disorder when in fact the individual undertaking the activity may have been doing so with or without purposeful intent (e.g., compensatory behavior, affect regulation, body shape/weight control, etc.). Thus, the physical activity commonly observed in eating disorders best reflects the definition of exercise. This distinction is important because physical activity is an inevitable function of daily life. However, the detriments associated with increased physical activity and eating disorders are a result of exercise undertaken with purposeful intent to elicit a specific outcome (e.g., weight loss, body manipulation, affect regulation, etc.). The focus of this workshop will emphasize definitional clarity of physical activity, exercise, body movement, and active living. Next, a short review of recent advances in the assessment of how body movement patterns may be contributing to eating disorder related detriments will be presented. Finally, break out groups will use this assessment information to examine if identifying the distinction between physical activity and exercise may allow for the management of exercise in eating disorders treatment. This discussion will be guided by applying recent protocols for the use of exercise in eating disorders treatment. Workshop attendees will also have the opportunity to present and discuss difficult cases and explore if exercise is possible for certain clients.
Primary Presenter:
Brian Cook, PhD

Dr. Cook has developed an original line of research focused on examining the etiological role, management, and therapeutic potential of exercise in eating disorders. His graduate training at the University of Florida and a National Institute of Mental Health funded post-doctoral fellowship at the Neuropsychiatric Research Institute has allowed him to train under leading experts in the eating disorder field. This has resulted in consistently presenting research and invited talks at conferences throughout the United States, Canada, and Europe, chairing paper sessions on eating disorders and associated illnesses at international conferences, and publications in leading journals and invited book chapters.



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