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Children as young as five treated for anorexia

1st August 2011

NHS trusts in England have released data which has revealed that 98 children between the ages of five and seven have been treated in hospitals over the last three years for eating disorders.

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During the same three years 99 children between the ages of eight and nine were treated in hospital, nearly 400 between 10-12 years of ages and 1,500 between the ages of 13-15.

The number of children aged under nine who required hospital treatment has doubled in the last year.

Susan Ringwood, chief executive of the eating disorders charity Beat, said some children are so worried about becoming curvy when they start puberty that they do not eat in order to stay childlike.

She said: "The ideal figure promoted for women these days is that of a girl, not an adult women. Girls see the pictures in magazines of extremely thin women and think that is how they should be. That can leave them fearful of puberty, and almost trying to stave it off."

"A number of factors combine to trigger eating disorders; biology and genetics play a large part in their development, but so do cultural pressures, and body image seems to be influencing younger children much more over the past decade."

Around 90,000 people are believed to be having treatment for eating disorders in England. One in 200 women and one in 2,000 men is anorexic. 

 

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