According to a report released November 29, 2010 by the American Academy of Pediatrics, eating disorders are on the rise. The numbers for children under the age of 12, male children, and those of minority descent showed a sharp incline. This report updates a previously filed 2007 report, due to a sharp rise in all areas reported, including number of cases reported and better understanding of the need for medical support.
One reason for the increase in reported cases of eating disorders may be the “increased focus on weight management and dieting related to increased rates of obesity,” the report’s lead author David S. Rosen, MD, said, as well as the rise in emphasis on Body Mass Index. With rising numbers of obesity for children, many feel that children are taking the message to lose weight too far. Dr. Rosen encourages pediatricians to “be mindful not to encourage unhealthy dieting or focus exclusively on weight (risk factors for eating disorders) and instead emphasize healthy eating and physical activity.”
The report shows that hospital admissions for eating disorders increased most sharply (by 119%) in children younger than 12 years. It is estimated that .5% of American girls have Anorexia Nervosa and between 5% and 10% of all cases of eating disorders are found in males.