UK-The eating disorder figures among seem to soar out of proportion, according to the Liberal Democrats. Statistics published in response to parliamentary questions from the Liberal Democrats show that the number of children being hospitalized with eating disorders has risen by a third in the last decade. This mainly comprises of people under the age of 18.
The most common disorders are anorexia nervosa, Bulimia Nervosa and binge eating disorder. It can have severe consequences to a person's immediate and long-term health and can cause death.
AdvertisementEating disorders are characterized by an abnormal obsession with food and weight.
The eating disorders are influenced by supermodels and celebrities as many girls and boys want to look like them and be thin. Family break downs too have an impact on the children.
Figures show there were 673 cases of under-18s being treated for problems with food in 2005-06, a rise of a third on the 486 admitted in 1996-97. The statistics also reveal there were 58 cases of children under the age of 10 being treated in NHS hospitals for eating disorders in 2005-06 - 23 of them were girls, and 35 were boys.
In 1996/97 this figure was even higher - 36 girls and 43 boys - and has varied ever since.
There are 620 cases of hospital admittance for anorexia across all ages in 2005/06 and 23 for bulimia.
Liberal Democrat education spokeswoman Sarah Teather said: "Sadly these figures only represent the tip of the iceberg. Many more children are suffering in silence and trying to appear as if everything is fine.
"Teachers have a key role in recognizing and supporting pupils that are struggling in school because they are coping with hidden mental health problems. This is especially true where the parents may be unaware of their child's condition.
"As childhood becomes increasingly commercialized, young people are forced to grow up much quicker.
"It isn't surprising that this manifests itself in larger numbers of young children with mental health problems, including eating disorders."
It has also been seen that anorexia, an eating disorder which is usually seen among the girls is fast gaining grounds among the boys too.
Hospital figures show that there were 51 hospital admissions last year of boys under 11 with eating disorders and 36 admissions of girls. The statistics show that, in 2003, hospitals made 93 admissions of boys under 10 with eating problems, compared with 21 admissions of girls.