According to statistics from the Heath and Social Care Information Centre (HSIC), the county of Dorset has one of the highest levels of eating disorder admissions in the UK. Other parts of the country which experience the highest admissions include Barnet, Camden, the Isle of Wight and both Northern and Western Devon.
Even more worryingly, further data released from HSIC shows that the number of young girls who are being admitted to hospital with an eating disorder nationally, has doubled in the last three years.
In 2010 to 2011, there were 840 hospital admissions for those suffering with an eating disorder. By 2013 to 2014, this figure had shot up to 1,656 and what makes this even more shocking is that this number only represents young girls up to the age of 19.
The number of 14-year old girls who have been hospitalised because of an eating disorder has risen dramatically from 74 in 2003-04 to 336 in 2013-14. Similarly, the figures for 15-year olds has gone from 87 to 336.
Although the statistics for young boys up to the age of 19 is still considerably lower, the concern is that it too is rising. In 2010 to 2011 there were 123 cases whereas in 2013 to 2014, 135 young boys were admitted to hospital with an eating disorder. The biggest leap in this age group was 13-year olds - whereas this figure was just six, it is now 50.
The media, the Internet, pressures at school and problems at home are regularly cited for contributing factors towards the development of an eating disorder but experts are also concerned that it could be down to the increasingly long delays that people are facing to access the support and care they need when symptoms first arise.
Professor of eating disorder at King’s College Hospital, Ulrike Schmidt commented:
“Clinicians might be becoming more risk adverse and admit more quickly than 10 years ago because there is generally more awareness of the risks of anorexia. It could be to do with patients having to wait a long time for specialist treatment or services and deteriorating while waiting so they need to come into hospital.”
If you think that you or someone you know could be suffering with an eating disorder, please feel free to visit our Eating Disorder Treatment page for more information about the signs, symptoms and treatments available.