Tuesday 17 September 2019

Eating disorders affect more 25 to 35-year-olds in Ireland

A young girl checking her weight in mirror - picture posed by model
A young girl checking her weight in mirror - picture posed by model

THE age group most affected by eating disorders in Ireland is now the 25 to 35-year-olds, according to a new report.

Bodywhys annual report has identified that children younger than 10 suffer from eating disorders.

But almost a third of those with an eating disorder are now in the 25 to 35 age group rather than the younger 19 to 24 age group of previous years.

One in five of those contacting the support service during the year were in crisis. Nearly two-thirds already had information about eating disorders and were looking for a "listening ear".

The report stresses that "eating disorders are not just a teenage issue" and points to the wide spread of age groups accessing the services.

The organisation dealt with 10,000 people during the year and while one in five had developed an eating disorder in the past six months, more than one in four had suffered with the condition for more than 10 years.

Women outnumbered men by nine to one and almost half of the callers were not engaged in any form of treatment.

The biggest age group with an eating disorder was between 25 to 35 years of age at 31pc but the age range ran from 0.3pc for those under 10 years of age to 5.7pc for those over 56 years of age.

Anorexia was the most common disorder (38pc), followed by binge eating disorder at 26pc and then bulimia at 25pc.

Bodywhys has become involved in training at third-level as part of social studies, nursing, teacher training and other courses, promoting awareness and understanding of the problem.

An increase in the number of boys' schools requesting someone to come and speak to students about eating disorders is also highlighted in the report.

Most people during the year got in touch by email, and the numbers were almost equally divided between sufferers and calls from family and friends seeking advice.

Email was used by 41pc of people seeking help, 22pc used the Lo-call helpline and 19pc consulted online groups.

When it comes to treatment, the report found that most were using psychotherapy or counselling or were in hospital for treatment.

Some were being treated by their family doctor in conjunction with a psychotherapist or a dietician.

Bodywhys is also supporting research being carried out by Noelle Fitzgerald from the University of Limerick to see if there is a link between mood, relationships, how individuals see their bodies and eating habits.

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