A London website states that record numbers of school-age girls are being treated in hospital for eating disorders.
The Mirror reports that under-18s were admitted to NHS hospitals with problems such as anorexia and bulimia 794 times last year in England. That is a massive 55 per cent rise on 2004/05, which saw 512 cases.
Girls of 15 were the most likely to need treatment for their condition, with 194 admissions in the age group last year. But eating disorders have been found in girls as young as eight.
And the new figures reveal the rise in eating disorders among girls shows no signs of abating.
Susan Ringwood of eating disorder charity Beat, said: "Starving the body of food can cause heart and kidney failure, irregular heart beat, low pulse, low blood pressure and low body temperature. It takes 500 calories just to get the brain to work and without enough calories the body starts to shut down. What we need is for doctors to pick up eating disorders quicker so girls don't end up in hospital."
In my book Why Can't I Look the Way I Want; Overcoming Eating Issues, there is a section about early warning signs. As people suffering from eating issues are secretive these signs can be subtle and cited as 'normal' behaviour - unless you are aware of what to look for.
Common warning signs include going on an unusually strict diet, becoming ‘vegetarian’ or ‘vegan’ i.e. cutting out entire food groups under the guise of wanting to be 'healthy', making excuses to avoid eating such as “I ate dinner at my friend’s house”, wearing baggy clothing to hide weight loss, obsession with food preparation, ritualistic behaviour when eating such as cutting food into little pieces, obsession with preparing food, insisting that meals are eaten at a certain time each day or obsessive use of the same plates and utensils.
I also believe there are warning signs before the warning signs and there is a section on my website bodycage.com dedicated to raising awareness of subtle changes in disposition prior to the development and onset of the eating disorder. To read about the warning signs before the warning signs go Here
This disturbing report from London shows there is a pressing need to raise awareness of the seriousness of eating issues especially amongst children and adolescents, as well as the early warning signs. Watch the ones you love closely - if you sense that they are having trouble coping with life or struggling from day to day, reach out and do what you can to get to the heart of the matter. Anxiety almost always stems from an emotional need and if this need is addressed, the destructive path of an eating issue can potentially be avoided.