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Eighty people die every year due to eating disorders

It's estimated up to 200,000 people in Ireland are affected by eating disorders, with approximately 400 new cases each year -- representing 80 deaths annually.

Up to 1.2pc of Irish girls may be at risk of developing anorexia nervosa, with 2pc at risk of developing bulimia nervosa, according to a 2007 study of Irish children and adolescents,

Health Research Board data shows in the case of child and adolescent psychiatric admissions in Ireland in 2008, eating disorders represented the second highest level of diagnosis at 18pc.

According to Bodywhys, a national charity supporting people affected by eating disorders, about 3,000 people accessed their services in 2011.

Jacinta Hastings (pictured), CEO of Bodywhys says, "We cannot underestimate the complexity and seriousness of an eating disorder.

"People can and do recover but early intervention is important and the support ethos such as provided by Bodywhys is a vital frontline service for early intervention.

"Investment in early intervention can ensure people affected by eating disorders get the much needed support to seek help.

"In 2011, calls to our helpline increased by 39pc. We found 27pc of callers were aged between 15 and 24 years.

"This reflects the general statistics that the average age of onset for an eating disorder is 15 to 24 years. Yet it is also important to recognise that 8pc of calls concerned someone aged 14 and younger.

"This reflects a trend that those developing eating disorders are getting younger and presenting with more complex disorders."

For more information log onto www.bodywhys.ie.