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POPULATION HEALTH: Promotion and Prevention 

Help and HOPE for Eating Disorders  
6 February 2012

Did you know that the risk of premature death is 6-12 times higher in women with Anorexia Nervosa as compared to the general population, adjusting for age? (Academy for Eating Disorders, 2011)

Did you know that four per cent of boys in grades nine and ten reported anabolic steroid use in a 2002 study, showing that body preoccupation and attempts to alter one’s body are issues affecting both men and women? (Boyce, W.F. (2004) Young people in Canada: their health and well-being. Ottawa, Ontario: Health Canada.)

These are some of the disturbing statistics and situations staff members address on a daily basis at Eastern Health’s HOPE Program (Healthy Opportunities for People with Eating Disorders).

Renata Elizabeth Withers Centre for HOPEHOPE is a provincial specialized interdisciplinary day treatment program under the umbrella of Eastern Health’s Mental Health and Addictions Program. According to manager Krista Wade, the HOPE Program is committed to helping people recognize their eating disorder symptoms, to challenge thoughts and behaviors and to develop new means of coping with everyday stressors. Krista says the program is meeting a definite need.

“The HOPE program opened its doors at the new Outpatients Services Building at 35 Major’s Path in the summer of 2009 and each year we receive approximately 100 referrals from around the province for both men and women struggling with an eating disorder. Our program strives to provide a trusting, supportive and consistent environment for individuals and their families on their journey to wellness.”

Krista says the program is achieving its goals, according to the feedback from those who participate. One man who recently completed the program described a powerful personal journey - and outcome:

“My experience at the Hope Program saved my life and my marriage.  I have had a complete turn around in my life because of this program.  I finally began to face some of the fears that I have had and also to take some chances. The staff is exceptional; they show so much concern. The staff and other clients were very open and I always felt like I could open up about what I was really feeling. Our social worker helped me see that the eating disorder affects all aspects of my life: my relationship with my wife, my kids, at work, and with friends. There were times that it was very hard, but I never could be enjoying the life that I am today without the help of this program.”


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Updated Feb 8, 2012