Child, Child health

eating disorders in children

eating disorders in children

Study: Eating disorders in socially superior children

Anorexia and bulimia are now the most common causes of illness in young women. Swedish researchers at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm have now compared the educational status of the girls and that of their parents and grandparents with the occurrence of eating disorders – and came up with an interesting result: if the young women come from a better educated family, the risks are considerably higher , to get bulimia & co.

Swedish study of more than 13,000 women

For the researcher Dr. Jennie Ahrén-Moonga conducted a study evaluating the educational status of 13,376 women born between 1952 and 1989 and the schooling of their parents and grandparents. In addition, the position of siblings, school grades and hospital stays were also taken into account.

What eating disorders are there?


Eating disorders in socially disadvantaged children

The result was extremely interesting: According to the study, girls whose mothers, fathers and grandparents had a higher education have a higher risk of developing eating disorders. Especially if they have good school results themselves. Girls whose parents went to college were twice as likely to develop anorexia and the like as girls whose parents only had elementary school education. The risk of developing the disease was even sixfold among girls whose grandmothers went to college compared to those of elementary school grandmothers.

Possible causes for this phenomenon

According to the study’s researchers, the pressure to perform may be greater for girls in a higher-educated family than for children with ancestors who simply attended elementary school. This pressure to perform could lead to an obsession among girls to control their eating and weight. In addition, it is possible that ambitious young women develop a certain perfectionism that makes them susceptible to eating disorders. Coupled with low self-esteem and a constant feeling of falling short of expectations, these traits born of what appears to be social status could be a dangerous mix that leads to anorexia and bulimia.

The researchers of the Swedish study emphasize that the results of the study do not mean that higher education and school performance necessarily lead to eating disorders. However, they point out that the possibility of a higher risk of anorexia and bulimia in young women from these social groups does exist. Parents should therefore be alarmed if their child suddenly skips meals or goes to the toilet immediately after meals. Likewise, unexplained weight loss should prompt close observation of the child. Discovering and treating eating disorders in good time improves the chance of full recovery.


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