The number of teenagers and young children admitted to hospital for eating disorders has soared in the past decade, alarming figures reveal.
Admissions for those aged 18 or under have more than doubled from 1,700 in 2010 to 4,500 last year. Shockingly, the number of admissions for children under 13 has tripled since 2010, rising from 74 to 229.
As Childline reported a surge in calls from young people battling eating disorders, experts warned that celebrity diet culture and social media sites were fuelling the increase. There is particular concern over ‘pro ana’ websites, which promote anorexia.
Admissions for those with eating disorders (file image) aged 18 or under have more than doubled from 1,700 in 2010 to 4,500 last year
There were also calls last night for better training to help healthcare professionals spot signs of eating disorders in young people.
Dr Agnes Ayton, of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, said: ‘There has been a rise in children dieting, and while adults may have learned to ignore all the diet books and messages about losing weight – particularly at this time of year – children are more influenced by them.
‘They are also influenced by celebrities promoting diets on social media, as these people can be role models. For young people who are showing early signs of eating disorders, their families will tell them they are putting themselves at risk, but they can find social media groups of people who encourage this type of behaviour.
‘Healthcare professionals need to be better trained at spotting eating disorders as early diagnosis and treatment can reduce hospital admissions and save lives.’
The number of children admitted to hospital under 13 has tripled since 2010, rising from 74 to 229
The latest figures from NHS Digital show that eating disorder admissions for children aged 18 or under have more than doubled – from 1,742 in the financial year 2010-11 to 4,540 in the year 2018-19.
The figures show there were 229 hospital admissions for children under 13 in 2018-19. That is more than three times the 74 recorded in 2010-11.
Shockingly, there were ten hospital admissions for eating disorders in boys aged nine or younger last year and six admissions for girls aged nine or younger. There were a further 186 admissions in girls aged ten to 12 in 2018/19, and 27 for boys aged ten to 12.
While the numbers of eating disorders keep climbing, almost one in six consultant psychiatrist posts