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Young children suffer eating disorders

Data collected by the Royal Colleges of Paediatrics and Child Health found that 206 children under the age of 13 were treated for eating disorders over 13 months beginning in March 2005.

Anorexia was diagnosed in 37% of these kids, with the youngest sufferer a child of eight, the study reveals.

Researchers stressed that there could be a variety of reasons behind these figures.

Study leader, Dr Dasha Nicholls, told the BBC: "Children are conscious of their bodies so [factors such as media influence] do come into it, but the strongest influence in any mental health disorder is genetic and then there are psychological and social factors that come into play."

Some 18%of eating disorders reported in the study were diagnosed among boys.

Approximately 10% of overall cases affect men, according to the NHS.

From 26/3/07