Though the median age for onset of eating disorders is in the mid-teens, increasing diagnoses are being made in pre-pubertal children. A recent study (see p. 20) of 208 childhood cases in the UK showed the youngest case at just over 6 years old. Around 18% of the pre-pubertal cases were male (higher than the oft-cited figure of 10% of males in general populations) and 95% involved food avoidance. Early onset of an eating disorder disrupts critical physiological and developmental changes in pre-adolescent children. Left untreated many of these changes have long-term consequences for brain maturation, bone and reproductive health; and seriously compromise adolescent growth and development overall.
Keywords: define Pre-Pubertal/Pre-Pubescent (pre-adolescent) onset eating disorder
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