Eating Disorders Striking Wisconsin Girls as Young as Six

In the U.S., 20 million women and some 10 million men suffer from a clinically significant eating disorder at some time in their life according to a 2011 study by Waed, Keski-Rahkonen & Hudson.

In Wisconsin, a similar study found that more than 60,000 men and 132,000 women likely have an eating disorder, or roughly 3 percent of the population.

Common types of eating disorders include anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge eating disorder.

Eating disorders affect people of all ages, but there certainly are pockets of the population that cause concern.

Teenagers and young adults often who have ongoing concern about personal appearance and self-esteem, could be at risk for eating disorders.

It's estimated that more than a half million teenagers nationally struggle with eating disorders or disordered eating.

The same study also has shown that by age 6, girls especially start to express concern about their weight or shape. 40-60 percent of elementary school girls are concerned about their weight.

Yet people of all ages can suffer from one type of eating disorder or another.

It's important to know that eating disorders typically are mental health issue, and are caused by a mix of sociological, psychological and genetic factors.

Symptoms include:

Binge eating

Self-induced vomiting

Loss of control over eating

Extreme weight loss or low body weight

Excessive concern about weight and appearance


Denial of hunger

Long term effects from ignoring or not treating an eating disorder can range from depression, interpersonal problems, dental problems, heart attacks, fertility issues, and even death in some instances.

Eating disorders are a silent disease that destroys the physical and mental health of millions of Americans each year.

The Eating Disorder Program at Aurora offers several levels of care for patients ages 13 and older and uses a number of different approaches including individual, group, family and dietary therapy, education, medication management and movement therapy such as yoga.

Multidisciplinary team develops individualized treatment plans to meet the needs of each patient. Members of the team include psychiatrists, psychotherapists, group therapists, family therapists, registered dietitian and registered nurses.

For more information call at 414-454-6694.

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