Nutrition and Eating Disorders

Nutrition is the process of nourishing or being nourished, that is, the process of supplying what is necessary to sustain life. The nutrients required to sustain life and promote health and wellbeing are: Carbohydrate, Fat, Fibre, Protein, Water, Vitamins and minerals It is well accepted that nutrition is strongly linked to the major causes of ill health in Western countries. Many diseases common in Australia are "lifestyle" diseases related to what we choose to eat. They include: cardiovascular disease, diabetes, eating disorders, being overweight and obesity.

These diseases have been shown to be linked to eating:

  • too much fat (especially saturated fat), salt, sticky sugary food and alcohol
  • and not enough dietary fibre, complex carbohydrates, calcium and iron and folate

Many factors influence food choices, but a major area of concern is that of "body image". Australian adolescents, particularly females, incorrectly see themselves as underweight or overweight. Incorrect concerns about body image can lead to the use of dangerous diets and weight-loss methods, low self-esteem and eating disorders.

Reynolds, J. (ed.). (2003). Nutrition: the inside story. Home Economics Institute of Australia Inc. 

The Australian Government’s Department of Health maintains a website eatforhealth. The site includes detailed information about Australia’s Dietary Guidelines.  The Guide aims to promote healthy eating habits throughout life, which will assist in reducing the risk of health problems in later life, such as heart disease, obesity and Type 2 Diabetes.

Library Resources
AV Resources
Web Resources

Library Resources

Use the Library catalogue to quickly locate the resources you need to begin your research:

On the shelves

Keyword searching

Collection highlights

  • The Diet dilemma explained by Rosemary Stanton. This is a book for people who are tired of gimmicks and who want to know what normal weight is and how it can be achieved.
  • The Diet drama by Nancy Redd. This is book to help girls understand diets and how to "love their body". It is packed with interesting facts, sample food and exercise plans.
  • The Science of good food: the ultimate reference on how cooking works by David Joachim and Andrew Schloss. The A-Z format of this book helps to clearly explain the physical and chemical transformations that govern all food preparation and cooking. It offers thousands of tips and includes more than 175 fascinating food facts.
  • System 3: the complete guide to fitness and wellbeing by Sharon Natoli and Tony Boutagy. Provides tips and advice from many sports stars, including Layne Beachley and Kieren Perkins.


Reference Resources

General Encyclopedia

  • World Book Encyclopedia

Subject Encyclopedia

  • U.X.L. Encyclopedia of Diseases and Disorders
  • The Marshall Cavendish Encyclopedia of Family Health

It was noted in the 2012 Australian Year Book that 'many chronic diseases can be prevented, delayed or improved by addressing lifestyle factors such as smoking, poor diet, insufficient exercise or obesity.' The Year Book also shows that not many Australians actually meet the recommended dietary guidelines, which is unfortunately reflected in the rise of some of the diet-related diseases listed below.

On the shelves:

Read the personal narratives of some people who have dealt with and overcome eating disorders.

Web Resources


Teacher's guides

From the Guardian

Anorexia nervosa

Binge eating


Article Appears in: