EDHIT Research Conference 2023: Gender and Eating Disorders

  • 15th December 2023

170 people joined Bristol Health Partners Eating Disorders Health Integration Team (EDHIT) on 20 November for its annual research conference addressing gender and eating disorders. Attendees included those with lived experience, academics, researchers, medical professionals, voluntary sector workers and students.

The event raised awareness of the specific needs of people living with eating disorders from under-represented and minoritized groups, with a focus on males, and trans/non-binary and Muslim community groups.

EDHIT were particularly pleased to see representation from across Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire, as well as nationally and internationally. Its reach included USA, Brazil, Spain, Northern Ireland and Australia.

Presenters and topics

The first speaker was Latika Ahuja, Research Fellow from the Centre for Appearance Research at UWE Bristol, who discussed research into positive body image in men.

Next, doctoral student Simone Harding presented on the trans/non-binary perspective, exploring eating disorders and gender, and what they mean to the individuals experiencing them, rather than how they are conceptualised (by society, the medical and ‘psych’ professions). Implications for practice were shared.

Eating disorders and the trans/non-binary perspective

Then, George Mycock and James Downs spoke about eating disorders in men, sharing learning from lived and living experience. A number of recommendations for positive change in terms of treatment and recovery were shared. For example, ‘Taking action to appreciate the diversity of men’s experience – no one size fits all. Learning from a variety of men about their lived experiences and removing barriers for all is key’.

Eating disorders and men’ –

Finally, there was a presentation about disordered eating in Muslim men, based on research by Dr Helena Lewis-Smith, Associate Professor in Psychology from the Centre for Appearance Research, UWE Bristol. The research highlighted the need for more support for Muslim men (during and after Ramadan), and to target cultural norms and stigma in Muslim communities, related to mental health and body image concerns.

Disordered eating in Muslim men


EDHIT asked delegates to provide feedback on the event:

“Great speakers, great that this is a free event and very inclusive, opening and welcoming. Highly recommended.”

“I found the conference very interesting and thought-provoking. There are elements that will inform my therapy practice and I have been inspired to do more research myself.” 

“A really interesting conference with a diverse range of sessions / speakers.” 

“It was a brilliant conference.” 

“I thought this conference was insightful and thought provoking.”