Anorexia and Adolescence

More and more young women are diagnosed with eating disorders each year. According to new research, the number of people being hospitalized for eating disorders has been steadily climbing since 1999. Most cases are teenage girls and young women. Doctors say it is a disease that can start well before adolescence. Some girls are as young as 8 and 9 when they start focusing on their bodies and their desire to be skinny. The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality reports that the number of girls under the age of 12 hospitalized for eating disorders has more than doubled since 1999. What is going on typically, doctors say is depression. They say kids who become worried about their weight and anxious about their appearance are likely depressed. Experts say it is crucial for parents to catch the first signs of an eating disorder because the fatality rate for anorexic women is 10 to 15 percent. Research also shows that once a child is diagnosed with an eating disorder, there is a 75-percent chance they battle that addiction for the rest of their life. Anorexia is particularly dangerous for pre-teens because during those years, the bones need nutrition to properly thicken and other organs, like the heart, are still developing to their adult capacity.