A startling 22% of kids and teens exhibit symptoms of disordered eating, according to a meta-analysis that was published in the medical journal JAMA Pediatrics earlier this week.
There are many forms of disordered eating, such as erratic weight, recurrent dieting, and food-related guilt.
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics explains that the behaviors “may or may not warrant the diagnosis of a specific eating disorder.”
The authors examined 32 papers from 16 nations, including the US, UK, Spain, China, Germany, South Korea, and Slovenia, to compile the information for their meta-analysis.
In the end, it was determined that more than 1 in 5 kids and teens had eating disorders, with rates being greater in females, older kids, and people with higher BMIs.
The study explains that “From an epidemiological point of view, identifying the magnitude of disordered eating and its distribution in at risk populations is crucial for planning and also executing actions aimed at preventing, at detecting, and at dealing with them.”
Frequent dieting, weight fluctuations, and eating-related guilt are just a few of the numerous indications of disordered eating.
The meta-analysis made a distinction between eating disorders and disordered eating, stating that not all people with the latter condition would also have a diagnosis for the former.
The authors wrote that “Eating disorders are among the most life threatening psychiatric problems, and those with these conditions die 10-20 years younger than the general population.”
According to the National Eating Disorders Collaboration, disordered eating may be extremely harmful, particularly for young individuals, as it increases their chance of developing conditions including metabolic issues, osteoporosis, and chronic headaches.
The 32 studies that they included had participants self report their activities, which the authors of the meta analysis highlighted may have constrained their research.
However, the startling statistic still raises serious concerns that should not be overlooked, regardless of the study’s limitations.
The authors concluded that “This high proportion is concerning from a public health perspective and highlights a need to implement strategies for preventing eating disorders.”