Eating Disorders Up Among Youngsters

28 February 2011, 00:00 | Updated: 8 March 2011, 10:18

There's been a big increase in the number of young people with eating disorders here.

The NHS in north Essex say they're now seeing 80 new cases per year - that's nearly 3 times as many compared to 6 years ago.

The North Essex Partnership's Child & Adolescent Eating Disorders service offers help to 11 to 17 year olds and their families.

They've also been running a Youth Consultant programme where previous patients get involved with developing the service by coming up with new ideas about treating other youngsters as well as creating a special DVD for new patients.

The service is family-based, using family therapy and Multi-Family Group Therapy, with individual therapy provided for family members where it's needed to help resolve issues.

The South Essex Partnership's told Heart they saw 76 new cases last year, but that's actually down from 94 in 2005.

About 1 million people in the UK are affected by an eating disorder, with young people being the most at risk group.

Symptoms include:

  • Obsession with body weight, size or shape
  • Only eating certain types of food
  • Picking at food
  • Use of bathroom immediately after eating
  • Making excuses not to eat at meal times
  • Rapid weight loss or weight gain
  • Mood swings
  • Excessive exercise