How prevalent are eating disorders amongst youth?

An article published via Eurekalert discusses a study conducted by Jama Pediatrics in an attempt to understand how common eating disorders are amongst children.

Upon initial thought, most of us likely assume that eating disorders and children and two things that are not intended to be affiliated with each other. The Jama Pediatrics study, however, carried out by Aaron J. Blashill, Ph.D., of San Diego State University, San Diego, California, and coauthors may suggest otherwise.

The following “Bottom Line” findings are derived directly from the Eurekalert article which links to the full study.

“The frequency of eating disorder diagnoses was low among U.S. children ages 9 to 10 in an analysis of data from another study.

“Across all eating disorder diagnoses, the overall frequency was 1.4 percent with no significant differences between girls and boys in a nationally representative group of 4,500 children 9 to 10 years old.

“The authors suggest sex differences in eating disorders may not emerge until later on in adolescence. In this group of children, the prevalence of anorexia nervosa was 0.1 percent, there were no cases of bulimia nervosa, the frequency of binge-eating disorder was 0.6 percent, and the prevalence of any other specified feeding and eating disorder diagnosis was 0.7 percent.”

These findings imply that eating disorder occurrences are not significantly concerning in terms of affecting children, yet I was deeply disturbed to learn that even 1.4 per cent of the 4,500 children between the ages of nine and ten, examined for this study, have been victims of such a terrible condition.

I believe the findings of this study are crucial in order to better understand how the prevalence of eating disorders amongst children may progress in the near future. With more societal and social media influence becoming influential upon its users every day, I would be surprised if the 1.4 per cent did not escalate.

Eating disorder culture is something that demands our attention. Especially if it is becoming an issue for kids who are still in elementary school.

izusek/E+ photo

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