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CANADA’S CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL FOUNDATIONS

montreal childrens hospital

THE MONTREAL CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL FOUNDATION

OBESITY AND EATING DISORDER PROGRAMS

$185,363

TOTAL FUNDS RECEIVED IN 2021

69% HOSPITAL PROGRAMS

31% CARE

HOSPITAL PROGRAM OVERVIEW

The Montreal Children’s Hospital Foundation is investing in improved treatment for two critical mental health issues: obesity and eating disorders.

Severe obesity in teenagers is an increasingly prevalent problem. This condition leads to short-term and long-term health complications, and diminishes quality and length of life. Until three years ago, severely obese teens had no dedicated services outside of Toronto. Funding from Sobeys is helping to build the first Centre of Excellence in Adolescent Severe Obesity in Quebec; there is an urgent need for this support, and having a Centre closer to home will help Quebec patients receive help earlier in the progression of their condition.

We were the first program in Quebec to provide licensed and accredited family-based therapy (FBT) for eating disorders. Our FBT-trained therapists provide evidence-based treatment, primarily for anorexia and bulimia. These illnesses have both psychological and physical components, and can have a dramatic impact on growth, brain function, bone strength, sexual development and cardiac health. Patients have a high rate of chronic complications and are at high risk of suicide. The FBT program, by intervening where possible before patients’ conditions have become severe enough to warrant inpatient care, has led to a drastic reduction in the number and duration of hospitalizations for youths with an eating disorder. Sobeys support is helping us to invest further in this successful program.

2021 UPDATE

Family-Based Treatment Program: Consistent with a worrying and widespread trend across Canada, referrals to the FBT program are growing – likely a consequence of COVID-19’s impact on adolescent eating disorders. It’s now a well-established national trend that restrictive eating disorders have increased dramatically since the start of the pandemic. At our own hospital over the last year, more patients have presented for restrictive eating disorders in extreme medical and psychological states. Patients have rapidly lost large amounts of weight, presented with low heart rates and blood pressures and demonstrated extreme behaviors around food refusal. Effective treatment of these severe and entrenched eating disorders requires tertiary, multidisciplinary services often beyond the scope of community providers. Donors like Sobeys are helping us to respond.

Centre of Excellence for Adolescents with Severe Obesity: It’s been a very challenging year for patients and families living with severe obesity, as well as our teams working hard to support them. The cancellation of adolescent bariatric surgeries due to COVID-19 has left many patients discouraged. Public health measures such as school and gym closures have had harmful effects on our patients’ physical and mental health. We’ve seen more severe obesity, declines in healthful activities, and dramatic increases in depression and anxiety – all contributing to a worsening situation for an already vulnerable population. What’s more, patients living with obesity represent a group at especially high risk of severe outcomes from this coronavirus. Donors like Sobeys have helped us to support, encourage and treat these adolescents (often virtually) at this extremely difficult time. We look forward to resuming in-person care as we continue our work to improve the well-being of adolescents living with this chronic disease.

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