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Shaping Parental Choices During Renourishment of a Child With Restrictive Eating Using an Interactive Grocery Store

Statement of Problem

Anorexia nervosa is a serious brain-based illness with typical onset in adolescence. A hallmark of the illness is weight below what is normal for that person’s sex, height and developmental trajectory. Research indicates that early and rapid weight gain in treatment for anorexia is key for increased possibility of remission, making the renourishment stage crucial to this process.

There is currently only one evidence-based treatment for anorexia in adolescents: Family Based Treatment (FBT). The first phase of FBT focuses on parents leading the renourishment process at home to promote weight gain in the adolescent.  Adolescents recovering from anorexia are hypermetabolic (i.e., their metabolism speeds up) and need enough nutrition to repair and restore their body.  On average, adolescents need at least 3,600 calories a day–some adolescents need closer to or even over 5,000 calories a day. Parents have reported feeling overwhelmed by grocery shopping to meet the nutritional needs for their child because it is unlike anything they have ever done before. There is no current electronic aid to support parents in shifting their approach to grocery shopping.


Next Steps

By exploring the use of OSOG as an online shopping tool for parents during renourishment, we hope to support parents during the early phases of treatment and determine how best to implement the modified OSOG into our nutritional teachings in the hospital to ease the transition from inpatient to outpatient care. Data from this project will inform a number of mHealth supports for families early in the treatment of anorexia nervosa.

This project page was last updated in February 2022.

Suggested Citation

Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, PolicyLab. Shaping Parental Choices During Renourishment of a Child With Restrictive Eating Using an Interactive Grocery Store [online]. Available at: [Accessed: plug in date accessed here]. 

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