Britain and its Anorexic kids

I came across a very disturbing article in the Guardian newspaper in UK regarding eating disorder. On Monday this week the Guardian reported of a study which had found that more than 2,000 children have received treatment for eating disorders in the past three years. Of course this is not to imply that you should eat fatty food, but just minimal.

The statistics, the Guardian noted from the study, showed that nearly 600 children under the age of 13 were treated in hospital inEngland, including 197 aged between five and nine. The figures from 35 NHS hospitals inEnglandhad shown that 98 were aged between five and seven at the time of treatment and 99 aged eight or nine. Almost 400 of these were between the ages of 10 and 12, with more than 1,500 between 13 and 15 years old, according to the study.

Released under theUK’s Freedom of Information Act, the statistics are believed to be an underestimate. This is because some hospitals had apparently refused to provide information on their patients while others “would only release figures for children admitted after becoming dangerously thin, excluding those undergoing psychiatric therapy as outpatients”. The report comes after experts inEnglandcalled to an “urgent action to improve the detection of eating disorders in children”.

Conducted by University College London’s Institute for Child Health, the report found that about three in every 100,000 children under 13 in theUKandIrelandhad some sort of eating disorder. Among the hospitals that made available their information, one in three hospital admissions for eating disorders involved a child with under-18s accounting for 882 out of 2,579 admissions to England’s hospitals in the 12 months to June last year.

Susan Ringwood, chief executive of the eating disorders charity B-eat, reportedly told Sunday Telegraph that the figures reflected “alarming” trends in society, with young children “internalizing” messages from celebrity magazines, which idealised the thinnest figures.

Ringwood is quoted as saying: “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”. She said our children were receiving “pernicious” and that their “ideal figure promoted for women is that of a girl, not an adult woman”. She said this “can leave girls fearful of puberty, and almost trying to stave it off”.

Spokesperson for Department of Health told the guardian that the department was “committed to improving mental health among the whole population” and “that is why we are providing around £400m over the next four years to expand psychological therapies, including a specific programme for children and young people” the spokesperson who’s gender was not mentioned by the Guardian said “early intervention is essential for those with eating disorders”.

And if you thought it was only the “thinnest figures” of women that children envied you have to this again. This because the Guardian in another report in May last year indicated that “skinny models, clothes designed for unrealistic body shapes and pressures at work are all fuelling an increase in eating disorders and body anxiety, as well as a rise in demand for cosmetic surgery”.

The report noted that “fat is no longer just a feminist issue, since the number of men suffering problems with food and body image is rising fast”. This, said the report, was because many experts suggested that about 40% of binge eaters and a quarter of anorexia and bulimia sufferers were male – compared with 10% a decade ago – while the equivalent rates for women had not changed significantly.

With this came the “manorexia” known as the body dysmorphia condition of “bigorexia” being men who become ever more muscle-bound in their obsessive pursuit of the perfect six-pack body, according to the report.

It suggested that the disorder had made eating disorder campaigners worry that “a shift in men’s sizing in fashion is exacerbating the crisis and have criticised a British mannequin manufacturer for its latest super-skinny male model that they say could encourage vulnerable boys and men to starve themselves in a repeat of the ‘size zero’ trend that encouraged many women to endanger their health”.

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