The following is excerpted from an online article posted by WebMD.
More than 1 in 5 children worldwide are at risk of developing an eating disorder such as bulimia, anorexia, or binge eating, a new analysis suggests.
The study was published in the journal JAMA Pediatrics. Researchers analyzed data for 63,181 adolescents 6 to 18 years old from 16 countries to look for what is called “disordered eating.”
The researchers examined results from a widely used standardized eating disorder questionnaire called the Sick, Control, One, Fat, Food (SCOFF). When someone answers yes to two or more of the questions, the person is considered to have disordered eating, which “denotes a suspicion of an existing eating disorder,” the researchers wrote.
Overall, 22% of children replied yes to two or more of the questions. The proportion of children with disordered eating is likely even higher, the researchers explain, because children may hide symptoms “due to feelings of shame or stigmatization.”
The findings are a dramatic shift from the estimation that 2.7% of people ages 13 to 18 have an eating disorder during their adolescent years.
The analysis showed that 30% of girls had disordered eating compared to 17% of boys. When looking at responses by age, the proportion of kids with disordered eating increased by 20 percentage points between the ages of 10 to 18.