For readers who are new to Eating Disorders and Obesity, we thought that it might be helpful if we briefly explained something about the nature and use of this book.
In common with the first edition, our goal has been to create a book that provides comprehensive coverage of the main issues of relevance to the eating disorders and obesity fields. As a result, it encompasses a very broad range of topics and has 112 chapters. Its breadth of coverage and organizational structure are best seen in the Contents, which lists all the chapters across the three main sections (Part I, Foundation; Part II, Eating Disorders; and Part III, Obesity).
Another goal has been to ensure that the book is authoritative. Accordingly, we approached the leading international experts on each topic and, with very few exceptions, each agreed to contribute. Their names can be found in the list of contributors.
The task of the contributors was to write a succinct yet comprehensive account of the topic in question, highlighting what is known and what is not. As a result, the chapters are concise syntheses of current knowledge in a very specific area (with crossreferences to other relevant chapters). In common with the first edition, the chapters do not include references; rather, each chapter concludes with a section titled “Further Reading,” in which up to 10 key articles are listed, together with a brief commentary explaining why they have been chosen. Thus, this section is designed to help readers identify avenues of inquiry to pursue.
The omission of in-text references is a controversial and distinctive feature of the book. We believe that by asking the contributors not to incorporate references, we have helped them step back and write true overviews of their subject rather than the all-toocommon litanies of important studies. And we think that an added benefit is that the text is more readable as a result, since it is not broken up by lists of authors and dates. The potential cost is loss of guidance as to the important studies in the area. We believe that this has been avoided by the inclusion of key studies in each chapter’s Further Reading section. Since we envision a third edition, we would welcome readers’ views on these and any other matters.