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During anti-bullying week, Norwich based charity Beat has been telling Heart about an increase in the link between bullying and eating disorders.
According to a 600 person survey conducted by the Beat well over half (65%) felt bullying had contributed to their eating disorder. This figure is a 41% increase on a similar survey carried out by the charity in 2009 which campaigns around raising self esteem and more detailed research into the link between eating disorders and bullying.
The survey also found that almost half of the victims were less than 10 years old when the bullying started and many stated that the effects had stayed with them into their 40s and 50s. Only around 22% got any help to overcome their bullying.
20-year-old Sophie from Norwich was bullied from the age of 11. She says: “It lowered my self esteem drastically, and just reinforced the thought that ‘being thin was better’, which just paved the way for my eating disorder in a year or so's time."
Beat Chief Executive Susan Ringwood commented: 'There is still a great deal of stigma and misunderstanding surrounding eating disorders and it should be remembered that even a thoughtless remark can contribute to a lifelong struggle. Bullying undermines self confidence and lowers self esteem raising the risk of an eating disorder' which is a significant factor for too many people. Beat is calling for detailed research into links with eating disorders 'to find a way to help people walk away from these experiences without any lasting effects.'
More information on Beat can be found at www.b-eat.co.uk or on Twitter: twitter.com/beatED