A 67% increase in bullying is leading to an increase in eating disorders according to a study by eating disorder charity Beat. The study looked at 600 people and found that 90% of them said they had been bullied in their lifetime. 78% of those surveyed who suffered from an eating disorder said the bullying they endured had led to their eating disorder. That is a 34% jump from A similar survey run by Beat in 2010.
Chief Executive Susan Ringwood: “We know that low self esteem can lead to eating disorders, and bullying of any kind lowers self esteem. Any increase in bullying is very worrying, especially when such young people are involved. We know how important it is for young people’s concerns about bullying to be taken seriously and sorted out quickly. Schools need to make sure their anti-bullying policies are effective and used - and not just a dusty document on a shelf.” The truly worrying part of this study is that 40% of respondents said they were under the age of 10. This could help explain why younger and younger children are developing eating disorders. People being bullied might turn to eating disorders as a way to deal with their stress. Developing an eating disorder might also be a way for someone to feel they have control over their lives. With bullying on the rise, it is up to parents and teachers to confront the problem. StopBullying.gov recommends parents and teachers look out for the signs of bullying. These include: Unexplained injuries Missing or damaged clothing, books or other possessions Frequently feeling sick or faking sickness Odd or unexplained changes in eating patterns Problems sleeping or nightmares Falling grades or loss of interest in school Avoiding friends or certain social situations Lowered self esteem or feeling helpless Self destructive behaviour like running away from home or talking about harming themselves All of these are signs a child of childhood bullying and could be the precursors to an eating disorder. If parents or teachers see these signs, it is important to act quickly to get the child help and end the bullying.