A few study organized by the Eating Disorders Association of Canada has found that disordered eating can begin earlier than many experts believed.
The study examined 215 children aged 8 to 12 with eating problems.
Researchers found that 95 percent of the children restricted their eating. Nearly 70 percent feared gaining weight, and 46 percent identified themselves as fat.
The study showed that body consciousness can affect eating habits before a child reaches adolescence, the period when eating disorders were thought to emerge most often.
“These results are very concerning, but they may help clinicians reach a diagnosis earlier by enabling them to investigate these aspects,” said Dominique Meilleur, lead researcher. “Many researchers believe that bulimia only appears at adolescence, but our studies indicate that the problem can arise much earlier. It is possible that it is currently under-diagnosed due to a lack of awareness and investigation.”
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