Eating Disorders Starting Younger

The age at which people develop an eating disorder is getting younger according to new research.

Support group Overeaters Anonymous GB did poll of more than 250 OA members, that revealed more than half (53 per cent) said they first developed a problem with food when they were aged 10 years or younger. A further 29 per cent admitted they were between the age of 10 and 15 years old when their compulsive eating behaviour developed.

Maureen F, spokesperson for Overeaters Anonymous GB, said: “Some might find the results of the survey shocking, but as our members have underlined, it is not uncommon for us to see people who developed an eating disorder before they reached their teens.”

OA member Nicky H, explains how her issues with food began before she reached her teens: “When I was about 11 I became aware of my changing body. Although I was slim I had a bit of puppy fat,  which isn’t unusual for young girls, but I was paranoid about it and started comparing myself to others, wanting to be slimmer and prettier."

The survey results follow the first memorial service for young people who lost their lives to an eating disorder, held last week (28th September) at Southwark Cathedral. The occasion, organised by Norwich based eating disorders charity Beat, was attended by more than 100 bereaved families.