According to the Health and Social Care Information Centre, there has been a 35% increase in the number of men and women being admitted to hospital with eating disorders since 2011. Even more worryingly however is the fact that a large percentage of these admissions are young children under the age of 10 who are being drawn in by worrying ‘thinspiration’ photos which are bombarding social media sites.
With many young victims posting emaciated photos of themselves on the likes of Facebook and Twitter, charities believe that social networking sites are playing a huge role in the rise of eating disorders in children.
Susan Ringwood, Chief Executive of charity, B-eat commented:
“These sites are certainly potentially very dangerous indeed - particularly the extent to which they promote an eating disorder as though it were a lifestyle choice and not serious and complex psychiatric illnesses.”
One former anorexia sufferer spoke out about their ordeal and admitted that although they already had an eating disorder before they started searching for thinspiration pictures, once they started looking for them online, it became an obsession and something they wanted to aspire to.
“It became so serious that I was admitted to hospital and it was only when I started to receive treatment that I realised how sick I had become and how damaging those pictures really are.”
It will come as a huge surprise to many that the greatest increase in hospital admissions has been amongst men which contradicts the most popular misconception about eating disorders. It is thought that the media, peer pressure and body image are now seen to be affecting not just younger children, but also boys and men as well.
For more information about eating disorders and the treatments available, please don’t hesitate to visit our Eating Disorder Treatment Page. You can also learn more about eating disorders at the Life Works Knowledge Centre.