How common are eating disorders in young children?

Bottom Line: The frequency of eating disorder diagnoses was low among U.S. children ages 9 to 10 in an analysis of data from another study. Across all eating disorder diagnoses, the overall frequency was 1.4 percent with no significant differences between girls and boys in a nationally representative group of 4,500 children 9 to 10 years old. The authors suggest sex differences in eating disorders may not emerge until later on in adolescence. In this group of children, the prevalence of anorexia nervosa was 0.1 percent, there were no cases of bulimia nervosa, the frequency of binge-eating disorder was 0.6 percent, and the prevalence of any other specified feeding and eating disorder diagnosis was 0.7 percent.

Authors: Aaron J. Blashill, Ph.D., of San Diego State University, San Diego, California, and coauthors

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To Learn More: The full study is available on the For The Media website.

(doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2018.3678)

Editor’s Note: Please see the article for additional information, including other authors, author contributions and affiliations, financial disclosures, funding and support, etc.

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