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Study: Childhood Eating Disorders on the Rise

Children under the age of 12 are the fastest-growing age group for eating disorders.The number of pre-adolescent children suffering from anorexia, bulimia and compulsive overeating is on the rise. According to recent statistics provided by the Agency of Healthcare Research and Quality, hospitalizations for eating disorders for children under the age of 12 increased 112 percent between 1999 and 2006. Doctors have reported eating disorders in children as young as 5 or 6.

Eating disorder experts cite several reasons for the increase in eating disorders among younger children. Many blame the media for putting forth messages that equate body image with self worth. Others blame a lack of education on proper nutrition and exercise to maintain a healthy body. Childhood eating disorders can also be linked to stress and traumatic events that lead children wanting more control in their lives.

As eating disorders can be socially isolating, one of the most effective paths to recovery is rebuilding relationships with family and friends. Building a support system and keeping the communication lines open can help eating disorder sufferers gain self-acceptance.

At a Place of Hope, we offer treatment for children suffering from eating disorders. Our treatment program focuses on the whole body, including the physical, mental and spiritual for lasting recovery. If you think your child may be suffering from an eating disorder, contact us to find out more information on our treatment programs.

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