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Sharp rise in eating disorder admissions in under 18s

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The number of girls aged under 18 being admitted to hospital in England with eating disorders has jumped in the last five years, latest government figures show.

Figures given in response to a parliamentary question by the Liberal Democrats, show that admissions where the primary diagnosis related to an eating disorder in girls under 18 rose from 562 in 2003-2004 to 825 in 2007-2008 – a 47% increase.

In addition, admissions for girls aged under nine increased by 25% over the same period from 35 to 44.

Norman Lamb, Liberal Democrat health spokesperson, said: ‘This dramatic increase in hospital admissions is a tragic indictment of the government’s failure to tackle the problems of eating disorders.

‘Access to support services is dreadfully inadequate in many parts of the country,’ he said. ‘Early intervention can make a massive difference in these cases and prevent a descent into crisis. 

‘Children shouldn’t be getting to the stage where they are so ill they need to be hospitalised before they get help,’ he added.

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