Eating Disorders in Children

When it comes to children most at risk for an eating disorder, focus is rarely placed on boys or on those from minority and low-income backgrounds. But in a study published in the American Journal of Public Health a team of experts stress that anorexia, bulimia, and binge-eating actually affect a broad range of kids from many walks of life.

This disconnect between stereotype and reality contributes to the fact that only 3 to 28% of teens with eating disorders actually get diagnosed and treated. One possible solution: a simple and fast school-based screening program designed to uncover hidden cases. To evaluate the idea’s cost and potential the investigators conducted a computer simulation that examined the feasibility of screening students between the ages of 10 and 17.

It turned out, the hypothetical 5-question survey was both easy and inexpensive taking just minutes to complete and costing just $0.35 per child.

And more importantly in-school screening did, in fact, increase detection and treatment rates pointing the way towards a practical response to a serious public health problem.

I’m Dr. Cindy Haines of HealthDay TV with news from today that can lead to healthy tomorrows.

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