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Related to: Diet and Malnutrition, Self-Harm, Healthy Weight, Mental Health and Illness, Children and Young People, Child Health and Wellbeing Survey , Food Poverty

Key Facts

  • Hospital admissions for eating disorders have increased over time, but are still small in volume terms and there is significant known under-recording.
  • Eating disorder admissions are most prevalent amongst women aged 16-24.
  • Based on a 2007 national survey it is estimated that in 2012, 6.15% of 16+ year olds in Bath and North East Somrerset had an eating disorder (8,098 16+ year olds).

Definition

Eating disorders1 are conditions defined by abnormal eating habits that may involve eitherinsufficient or excessive food intake to the detriment of an individual's physical and mental health. Bulimia nervosa and anorexia nervosa are the most common specific forms in the United Kingdom.

What does the data say? 2

At least 1.1 million people in the UK are affected by an eating disorder, with young people in the age-group 14-25 being most at risk of developing this type of illness.

The highest prevalence of eating disorders in in 16-24 year old women.

Beat currently believes the number of people receiving treatment for anorexia or bulimia to be near to 90,000, while many more people have eating disorders undiagnosed, in particular those with bulimia 3

Girls and women are 10 times more likely than boys and men to suffer from anorexia or bulimia.

A person with an eating disorder can recover within five years providing they receive appropriate treatment, but in some cases, the illness will persist throughout life.

Nationally the number of hospital stays for eating disorders increased 11% to 2,579 in the year to June 2010 compared to the same period in 2009 when they stood at 2,316.

90% of these hospital stays (2,326) were women/girls.

In the year to June 2010 the region with the highest rate of hospital stays per 100,000 of the population, for all eating disorders, was the South West Strategic Health Authority.

During the same period hospital stays for eating disorders in the UK lasted on average 38 days.

Anorexia was the most common primary condition among those treated in hospital for an eating disorder and it made up around three quarters of all cases.

Bath and North East Somerset

Based on the 2007 Adult Psychiatric Morbidity Survey and the 2012 mid-year 16+ year olds Bath and North East Somerset population estimate, it is estimated that in 2012, 6.15% of 16+ year olds in B&NES had an eating disorder (8,098 16+ year olds). 4

The number of admissions for eating disorders in B&NES  increased between 2001 and 2011, although this may be due to changes in diagnosis rather than an actual increase in prevalence 5

The following graph shows the number of diagnosed and admitted cases of eating disorders in B&NES hospitals from 2001 by patients and admissions.

Number of hospital admissions and number of patients with eating disorders over time in Bath and North East Somerset

Figure 1: Number of hospital admissions and number of patients with eating disorders over time in Bath and North East Somerset 6

Children and Young People

Based on the 2007 Adult Psychiatric Morbidity Survey and the Bath and North East Somerset 16-24 resident population, it is estimated that in 2013 there were 3,879 young people aged 16-24 in B&NES with an eating disorder. 7

What does the community say?

Child Health and Wellbeing Survey

For the results of the Child Health and Wellbeing Survey see the Child Health and Wellbeing Survey section.

2007 Adult Psychiatric Morbidity Survey 8

Overall, 6.4%of adults screened positive for a possible eating disorder in 2007.

The proportion who screened positive and also reported that their feelings about food had a significant negative impact on their life was 1.6%.

Ethnicity and equivalised household income were not significantly associated with screening positive for an eating disorder

81% of adults who screened positive for a possible eating disorder were not in receipt of any treatment for a mental or emotional problem at the time of interview.

Around one in four adults who screened positive (24%) reported using health care services for a mental or emotional reason, compared with one in ten (10%) of those who screened negative.