Scientists have discovered a disturbing trend in the eating habits of children under the age of thirteen. According to British Paediatric Surveillance Unit's (BPSU) findings a child as young as six years was found to be suffering from such an anomaly. Anorexia, bulimia and binge eating are some of the common eating disorders.
These findings are said to be the first-ever national study conducted on eating disorders of children under 13. From March 2005, there were a total of 206 cases reported for a period of thirteen months. Of these, 37% of cases were found to be anorexic and boys contribute to 18% of all the cases. The youngest in the group was six years but showed only mild traces of anorexia. But there was a confirmed case of anorexia observed in an eight year old child.
Most of these children had to be admitted to hospital for treatment and many of them have shown signs of improvement. An interesting finding from this study was that children were so conscious about their weight and exercised regularly to keep it down.
The data for this study was collected by members of the Royal Colleges of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH) and Psychiatry and will be presented at the RCPCH Annual Scientific Meeting shortly. Child and adolescent psychiatrist Dr Dasha Nicolls from Great Ormond Street Hospital said that eating disorders occur when someone is worried about their weight or shape.