- 1.6 million people in the UK are affected by an eating disorder
- 11% of the 1.6 million are male
- 14-25 year olds are most affected by an eating disorder
- There are up to 18 new cases of bulimia per 100,000 population per year
- 1 in 100 women aged between 15 and 30, are affected by anorexia
- 10% of people affected by an eating disorder are anorexic
- 40% of people affected by an eating disorder are bulimic
What causes eating disorders?There is no single trigger for an eating disorder. What sparks one into life depends on the individual, and there can be many influencing factors. Some of these may include:
Social pressuresWe’re all surrounded by a social media populated with fake, Photoshop-enhanced celebrity bodies. This, and a fashion industry that uses ‘Size 0’ female models and pumped-up male models to showcase designer clothes, promotes the lie that the only body to have is an ‘ideal’ one. Although this is slowly changing with ‘Supersize models’ including size-16 Ashley Graeme, in the meantime we’re all fighting this attitude.
FamilyIn some cases, if family members have previously suffered from an eating disorder it can be an indicator that another may suffer themselves. It is important to remember that this is not necessarily the case, however.
PsychologicalInsecurity and a feeling of isolation that some teenagers feel can sometimes manifest itself in an eating disorder.
How can you help yourself or someone you know?If you’re worried about a friend or family member, talk to them in private and don’t place judgement on them. Just make them aware you’re there for them, even if they do at first act defensively.
- Prepare what to say.
- Don’t blame or judge.
- Concentrate on how they’re feeling.
- Stay calm.
- Have resources to refer to.
- Be prepared for a negative response.