The number of people being admitted to hospital for eating disorders has increased by 16% in the past year, with the amount of children and teenagers undergoing treatment last year numbering nearly 1,700.

Hospitals recorded 2,290 eating disorder admissions in the 12 months to June 2012, according to provisional figures from the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC).

Children and teenagers aged 10 to 19 accounted for 55% of admissions in the latest 12 month period; up from 49% in the previous year with 15-year-old girls only making up nearly 10% of all admissions. 

Tim Straughan, chief executive of the HSCIC, said: "It might be assumed that a person suffering with an eating disorder is cared for in the community through primary services rather than in hospital; with activity in secondary care only part of a bigger picture.

"However our figures do suggest that hospitals in England are admitting a greater number of eating disorder cases than in previous years. The data also points to a relatively small but nevertheless significant rise in child admissions for the treatment of an eating disorder."

Overall, women accounted for 91% of all admissions with anorexia the most common disorder as the cause of nearly three-quarters of admissions.

Lucie Russell, director of campaigns, policy and participation, at young people's mental health charity YoungMinds, said: "These figures show that there are an increasing number of children and young people who are in great pain and are struggling to cope.

"We know that eating disorders are a physical sign of emotional distress. It is essential we address the underlying problems that are so often the cause of young people turning to extreme relationships with food. We must make sure there are accessible places where children and young people can go to talk to about the struggles they are facing and specialist resources available as soon as they are needed."

Posted 12/10/2012 by richard.hook@pavpub.com