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Anorexia Despite Normal Weight: Watch Drastic Weight Loss
If overweight teenagers lose weight drastically in a short period of time, they can develop anorexia. This also applies if your current body weight is within the normal range. The number of people affected is increasing steadily, Australian scientists report in the journal Pediatrics.
Over 250 adolescents aged 15 to 16 on average had been admitted to the “The Royal Children's Hospital” in Melbourne with suspected eating disorders. They were examined physically and participated in the "Eating Disorder Examination" (EDE). This is an interview on the classification and recording of psychological complaints in eating disorders. The doctors diagnosed 118 patients with classic and 42 with atypical anorexia (anorexia). Nine out of ten affected were girls.
With atypical anorexia, the teenagers had lost at least ten percent of their body weight before the onset of the disease, but the current body weight was within the normal range. In comparison to "thin" anorexics, such patients suffered from overweight or obesity more frequently before the illness (71 to 12%) and had lost significantly more weight (17.6 kg to 11.0 kg).
In the physical examinations there were hardly any differences between the atypical and classic form. In contrast, psychological symptoms were more pronounced: normal-weight people had a more negative body image and were even less satisfied with their body weight than adolescents with classic anorexia. The fear of renewed weight gain was more pronounced.
The scientists rated atypical anorexia as a severe eating disorder with clear physical and psychological consequences. This means that even teenagers of normal weight who have suspected anorexia must be thoroughly examined physically and mentally - especially if they have lost a lot of weight recently. Heike Kreutz, aid