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Eating disorders are on the rise in the UK

Eating disorders are on the rise in the UK. 

Young people in particular are at risk. 

This is something that we’ve been saying here for quite some time now.

It gives us no satisfaction to report that the latest research – published this autumn – backs up our long-held assertion.

Published in the journal BMJ Open, these findings emanate from an in-depth study, conducted at King’s College London, in which child and adolescent psychiatrists based in hospitals, universities and clinics in the UK and Ireland were asked to report the number of anorexia cases encountered during a seven-month period in 2015.

The results came as little surprise to us here at CPUK.

The findings? 

That anorexia cases are on the increase, with the number of preteen children to receive a diagnosis having doubled, in some instances, during the last decade.

In 2015, 3.2 eight to twelve-year-olds per 100,000 met the criteria for anorexia for the first time. This might not sound like a lot to the layperson – but consider that, in 2006, that number was as low as 1.5 and it’s obvious that the rise appears sharp and the implications serious.

This follows reports that hospital admissions for eating disorders have doubled since 2013. The pattern here is the same and the trend quite clear. 

It is hard to conclude anything other than Eating disorders are on the rise in the UK.

Young people in particular are at risk.

It’s perhaps important to note, at this point, that such conclusions have been drawn from more detailed data and better research than that available in the past. Yet that still doesn’t account for the obvious uptick, with the main factors responsible ones that many parents and adults, we’re sure, will recognise.

Young people and children exposed to risk factors at an earlier age. Pressure to look good, to be popular and to succeed at school. Unrealistic expectations and issues surrounding body image. This all fuelled by social media, reality TV and an over-reliance on gadgets and devices that means adolescents are never able to switch off. Does this sound at all familiar?

“This study shows what psychiatrists have been seeing every day, which is a worrying rise in the number of young people suffering from the most deadly mental illness,” Dr Agnes Ayton, chair of the Eating Disorder faculty at the Royal College of Psychiatrists, told The Guardian. “The causes are complex, and much more research needs to be done in order to better support those affected. Anecdotally, reasons could include increasing pressures on children in schools, and advertisements encouraging unrealistic ideas of body image.”

There’s little doubt in our minds that the reasons listed here are rather more than anecdotal, and that the issues cropping up are the same time and time again.

With the latest research showing 13.7 new cases per 100,000 eight to seventeen-year-olds per year in the UK (and when it comes to girls, this figure leaps to 25.7), it’s quite obvious that this is an issue that needs to be taken seriously indeed. This is where we come in.

Concerned about anorexia/eating disorders? 

Think that a child/young person needs support? Here at CPUK, we can help.

The team here understand the issues and the impact, and can craft an appropriate intervention.

Like to find out more about CPUK and how we can support YOU?

Please get in touch. You can always contact us here. 

Because eating disorders are on the rise in the UK. 

Because young people in particular are at risk. 

Because this is something that we’ve been saying for quite some time now.

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