Up to one in ten teenage girls has an eating disorder, medical experts have warned and increasing numbers of boys are also at risk, some of them as young as ten, a major study has found.
Experts said that with the young under increasing pressure to ‘be perfect and look perfect’, the problem is now so severe it threatens the mental health of an entire generation.
For the first time, doctors have tried to measure the rate of eating disorders through the numbers of patients attending GP practices.
Across the population as a whole, the data shows a 13 per cent jump in the number of new cases diagnosed each year between 2003 and 2009.
The highest rates of new cases are among girls aged 15 to 19 and boys aged ten to 14.
Dr Nadia Micali, of the Institute of Child Health, University College, London, which carried out the research, said: ‘The absolute numbers affected by eating disorders are large.
It’s 5 to 10 per cent among adolescent girls, and closer to 10 per cent.’
The incidence of anorexia and bulimia, where victims make themselves sick after eating to lose or maintain weight, have stayed fairly constant but there has been a ‘significant increase’ in other eating disorders, including binge eating.
In teenage girls, eating disorders are now second only to depression as the most common new mental health problem they will be diagnosed with.
So how do you speak about food?
As your child’s primary role model IT MATTERS what you say, how you act and what you do – so just for the next week imagine that you have a camcorder on your shoulder recording everything you say and act around food and notice the messages you are sending to your kids unconsciously.
Then notice how you help them feel happy with themselves when they look at the X Factor Judges or images in papers – we are always talking & teaching our kids – so let’s start to keep things positive and in perspective and maybe, just maybe we can help kids be happy with themselves on the inside as well as on the outside and if you’d like your child to work with me on my very popular CONFIDENCE CLASSES FOR KIDS just click on the link as I only have a few places left on my next one in June.