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Sunny Side Up Nutrition

May 24, 2021

Anna L. and Elizabeth chat with Kerri Heckert, a certified eating disorder registered dietitian, and Eleanor Benner, a clinical psychologist, about educating and empowering families to help their child recover from an eating disorder. They highlight the importance of modeling food neutrality, normalizing body and weight changes, and that eating disorders affect people of all shapes, sizes, races, ethnicities, genders and religions.

We discuss: 

  • The multi-faceted causes of eating disorders, which are biological brain-based illnesses
  • Risk factors for developing eating disorders, including genetics and examples of environmental factors
  • How COVID-19 has impacted sleep, eating, and exercise schedules for children and adolescents 
  • The developmental period in which children are most vulnerable to the development of eating disorders and what parents/caregivers can do to mitigate that susceptibility
  • Warning signs (behavioral, psychosocial, emotional, and physical) of eating disorders 
  • First steps parents/caregivers can take if they begin to suspect that their child has an eating disorder 
  • How Family-Based Treatment (FBT) is the gold standard, first line of treatment for children and adolescents with eating disorders, in addition to working with a specialized treatment team
  • The benefits of early detection and intervention for recovery prognosis
  • A holistic approach to weight restoration and recovery

Kerri Heckert, MS, RD, LDN, CEDRD-S, ACSM-CEP is a Clinical Dietitian in the Eating Disorder Assessment and Treatment Program at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. She is a Certified Eating Disorder Registered Dietitian and an Approved Supervisor (CEDRD-S) through the International Association of Eating Disorders Professionals (iaedp) Foundation, a Certified Exercise Physiologist (CEP) through the American College of Sports Medicine and a certified yoga instructor. She has presented at national and international conferences, universities and to regional pediatricians and healthcare providers on the topic of pediatric eating disorders and adolescent nutrition. She specializes in pediatric and adolescent eating disorders and provides evidence-based clinical care with a focus on Health at Every Size® (HAES®), weight inclusivity and food neutrality. She got her master's degree in Nutrition from Drexel University and lives outside of Philadelphia with her husband and two daughters.

Eleanor (Ellie) Benner, Psy.D., is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia in the Eating Disorder Assessment & Treatment Program and the Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences. She is a certified Family-Based Treatment provider and specializes in delivering evidence-based treatment for child and adolescent eating disorders utilizing a Health at Every Size® perspective. Dr. Benner received her master's and doctoral degrees in Clinical Psychology with a concentration in Health Psychology from La Salle University in Philadelphia, PA. Dr. Benner has presented at national and international conferences, schools, and primary care offices on assessment and evidence-based treatments for eating disorders and is inspired by teaching others to provide exceptional care for pediatric eating disorders.