Informing the development of Australia’s National Eating Disorders Research and Translation Strategy: a rapid review methodology

Phillip Aouad, Emma Bryant, Danielle Maloney, Peta Marks, Anvi Le, Haley Russell, National Eating Disorder Research Consortium, Randall Long, Marika Tiggemann, Simon Wilksch, Phillipa Hay, Jane Miskovic-Wheatley, Stephen Touyz, Sarah Maguire

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)
8 Downloads (Pure)


Background: Eating disorders (EDs) are highly complex mental illnesses associated with significant medical complications. There are currently knowledge gaps in research relating to the epidemiology, aetiology, treatment, burden, and outcomes of eating disorders. To clearly identify and begin addressing the major deficits in the scientific, medical, and clinical understanding of these mental illnesses, the Australian Government Department of Health in 2019 funded the InsideOut Institute (IOI) to develop the Australian Eating Disorder Research and Translation Strategy, the primary aim of which was to identify priorities and targets for building research capacity and outputs. A series of rapid reviews (RR) were conducted to map the current state of knowledge, identify evidence gaps, and inform development of the national research strategy. Published peer-reviewed literature on DSM-5 listed EDs, across eight knowledge domains was reviewed: (1) population, prevalence, disease burden, Quality of Life in Western developed countries; (2) risk factors; (3) co-occurring conditions and medical complications; (4) screening and diagnosis; (5) prevention and early intervention; (6) psychotherapies and relapse prevention; (7) models of care; (8) pharmacotherapies, alternative and adjunctive therapies; and (9) outcomes (including mortality). While RRs are systematic in nature, they are distinct from systematic reviews in their aim to gather evidence in a timely manner to support decision-making on urgent or high-priority health concerns at the national level. 

Results: Three medical science databases were searched as the primary source of literature for the RRs: Science Direct, PubMed and OVID (Medline). The search was completed on 31st May 2021 (spanning January 2009–May 2021). At writing, a total of 1,320 articles met eligibility criteria and were included in the final review. 

Conclusions: For each RR, the evidence has been organised to review the knowledge area and identify gaps for further research and investment. The series of RRs (published separately within the current series) are designed to support the development of research and translation practice in the field of EDs. They highlight areas for investment and investigation, and provide researchers, service planners and providers, and research funders rapid access to quality current evidence, which has been synthesised and organised to assist decision-making.

Original languageEnglish
Article number31
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Eating Disorders
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 4 Mar 2022


  • Australia
  • Eating disorders
  • Mental health
  • Policy
  • Rapid review
  • Research
  • Research translation


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