App sends healthy eating messages

As advocates for a positive body image celebrate International No Diet Day, one doctor thinks he has designed an app that can encourage healthy food behaviour all year round.

The ''If not dieting'' empowerment card app allows users to access 65 messages that they can set as an alert on their iPhones and share with friends, to help them focus on the best way to stay healthy.

Dr Rick Kausman, who has dealt with tens of thousands of patients with body image issues, including those with eating disorders, said the app was not aimed at any age group or gender.

''The app is really aimed at all people with difficulties around food and eating, and their body,'' he said.

The messages are in seven different categories - including ''I can have it'', ''If I am not hungry, why am I eating?'' and ''eating slowly'' - and are based on Dr Kausman's book, If not dieting, then what?

The book has sold more than 25,000 copies since first being published in 1998.

Dr Kausman, a director of the Butterfly Foundation for Eating Disorders, said there was an unhealthy focus on weight, and diets were not the answer.

''As a society we've being focusing on the wrong w - we need to stop focusing on weight and instead focus on well-being,'' he said.

A report titled Paying the Price released last December estimated nearly 914,000 Australians have an eating disorder, with the total social and economic impact worth $69.7 billion in 2012.