The figures, which were obtained under the Freedom of Information Act by the Brownies and eating disorder charity B-eat, also revealed that 197 of the cases involved children aged between five and nine, 98 involved children aged between five and seven, 99 involved children between eight and nine, 400 involved children between 10 and 12 and 1,500 involved children between 13 and 15.
Experts from both B-eat and the Brownies agree that the celebrity culture is partly to blame for glorifying size zero figures and believe that the growing numbers are indicative of the fact that young children are still idealising the thinnest figures.
Research which was carried out by the Brownies themselves revealed that a large percentage of the girls aged just seven already identified an outlined drawing of a thinner women as more popular than those with a slightly larger outline.
According to Susan Ringwood, chief executive of eating disorder charity B-eat said there are a number of genetic factors that play a role in the development of eating disorders but cultural pressures and body image is now influencing young people more than ever before.
“The ideal figure promoted for women these days is that of a girl, not an adult women. Girls see the pictures in magazines of extremely thin women and think that is how they should be.” She said.
If you believe you child may be suffering form an eating disorder then please visit your GP as soon as possible so that they can provide you with the appropriate support and advice on the next steps. Alternatively, to contact a counsellor or psychotherapist dealing with this issue please use the search tool located on the homepage of this site.
View the original Telegraph article.