Prevalence of eating disorders 1.4 percent in preteens

November 27, 2018

(HealthDay)—The prevalence of eating disorders among 9- to 10-year-olds in the United States is 1.4 percent, with no difference in prevalence between boys and girls, according to a research letter published online Nov. 26 in JAMA Pediatrics.

Kaitlin Rozzell, from San Diego University, and colleagues used baseline data obtained from participants enrolled in the Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development (ABCD) study in 2016 and 2017 to determine the prevalence of eating disorder diagnoses. A of 4,524 children aged 9 to 10 years and one of their caregivers were enrolled and will be followed up for 10 years.

The researchers did not observe any statistically significant differences in the prevalence rates of eating disorders across all diagnoses between boys and girls, with an overall prevalence of 1.4 percent. The prevalence rates of any other specified feeding and eating disorder diagnosis, anorexia nervosa, and binge-eating disorder were 0.7, 0.1, and 0.6 percent, respectively. There were no cases of bulimia nervosa in the sample.

"Sex differences in eating disorders may not emerge until adolescence," the authors write. "This is consistent with previous research demonstrating a lack of prepubertal sex differences in eating disorders, with elevated prevalence of eating in girls during and after puberty."

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