Early-onset eating disorders affect about three in every 100,000 children under the age of 13, according to the first ever estimate of the incidence of such disorders in UK and Irish children.
0ver a 14 month period, 208 cases were identified using national surveillance systems.
University College London researchers estimated this gives an overall incidence rate of 3.01 cases in every 100,000 children.
In total, 37% were diagnosed with anorexia nervosa, while 43% were classified as having a unspecified disorder, because though they showed symptoms of anorexia they were not underweight.
Only 1% of the children were diagnosed with bulimia nervosa. The remaining 19% had symptoms of disordered eating, such as food avoidance and being underweight.
- Nicholls DE, et al. Childhood eating disorders: British national surveillance study. British Journal of Psychiatry (2011) 198: 295-301
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