Right arrow
This is some text inside of a div block.
This is some text inside of a div block.

New Research Demonstrates Promising Reduction in Disordered Eating Behaviors Among Adolescents through Digital Mental Health Support


Press Release

Body Positivity

February 2, 2024

Study Results Show that 61% of Teens with Disordered Eating Behaviors Have a Reduction in Symptoms After Receiving Care from Bend Health 

MADISON, Wis., (February 2, 2023) - Bend Health, Inc. ("Bend"), a national provider of pediatric mental health care for children, teens, and families, today announced findings from a new study highlighting the efficacy of whole-family collaborative care Digital Mental Health Interventions (DMHIs) in indirectly addressing disordered eating behaviors among adolescents. Published today in JMIR Formative Research, the study explores whether adolescents’ participation with an accessible and scalable digital mental health intervention is associated with a reduction in their disordered eating symptoms.

Given the critical role of early intervention in eating disorder recovery, parents and caregivers are advised to involve a healthcare provider specializing in pediatric mental health and eating disorders.  Bend Health provides an integrated solution offering comprehensive care through supervised care teams of coaches, therapists, and psychiatric providers for personalized mental health support for kids and teens.

The new observational study found that 61.4% of adolescents with elevated disordered eating behaviors at baseline showed significant improvements in these disordered eating behaviors after a median of just 2.23 months in care, with Bend Health. Longer durations in care were associated with larger improvements in disordered eating behaviors. These adolescents, predominantly female, also exhibited higher rates of elevated anxiety and depressive symptoms. Indeed, 95.9% of adolescents with disordered eating behaviors participated in care programs targeting mental health challenges other than negative body image or eating disorders, predominantly anxiety and depression. 

Early intervention is critical for successful treatment: eating disorders are now impacting younger individuals, with teenagers aged 14 to 18 being the most commonly affected age group. The COVID-19 pandemic more than doubled eating disorder prevalence for adolescents, worsening an existing critical public health issue and adding an estimated annual economic burden of $70 billion for families and hospitals

“Observing 61% of teens with these issues make significant progress under Bend Health’s care is more than just a number – it's a testament to the transformative power of compassionate and collaborative mental health care,” said Dr. Monika Roots, Co-Founder and President at Bend Health. “We can create positive downstream outcomes for teens with  disordered eating. It’s critical that we make impactful solutions like Bend Health accessible to all to foster happier, healthier kids as well as resilient families.” 

The study analyzed 689 adolescents aged 13 to 17 who met the inclusion criteria. Participants were eligible if they: 1) initiated mental health care with Bend Health Inc. between January 1st, 2023, and October 1st, 2023, 2) engaged in at least one session with a Bend Health Inc. coach or therapist during the study period, and 3) completed the assessment of eating behaviors before the commencement of care (baseline). 

For individuals who need more intensive care, Bend facilitates referrals to Equip, a leading provider of virtual, evidence-based eating disorder treatment in the United States. This collaborative approach ensures that individuals receive appropriate and tailored care to enhance their well-being and recovery journey.

# # #

About Bend Health, Inc. 

Bend Health, Inc., a national provider of pediatric mental health care services for children and families, is on a mission to improve access and reduce the cost of high-quality, expert mental health care. Bend is revolutionizing treatment through its unique collaborative care model that includes coaches, therapists, and psychiatric providers who work with families to provide comprehensive, personalized care plans that help children feel better today, and thrive tomorrow. Through measurement-based care, Bend achieves better outcomes, supporting happier and healthier kids and families, with seven peer-reviewed published studies demonstrating the effectiveness of the model. Bend’s services cover over 20 million kids through partnerships with leading insurers, employers, and health systems, and self-pay. For more information, visit www.BendHealth.com  

About JMIR Publications 

JMIR Publications is a leading, born-digital, open access publisher of 30+ academic journals and other innovative scientific communication products that focus on the intersection of health and technology. JMIR Formative Research (Impact Factor: 2.2) is a leading publisher of peer-reviewed, openly accessible papers containing formative research and preliminary results.