London, Dec 30 (UNI) Stop blaming size-zero models for driving youngsters to starvation as harmones released in the womb during pregnancy trigger anorexia, experts claim.
According to a study, people who develop eating disorders could have been exposed to too much of the female hormone oestrogen before their birth.
Oestrogen is naturally produced by the mother and pumped into the womb to help baby girls develop.
The link was discovered in a study of twins, which found boys with a twin sister, who would have been exposed to high levels of oestrogen in the womb, were ten times more likely to get anorexia than boys with a twin brother.
Some mothers over-produced the hormone resulting in a long-term impact on a child's brain.
The results also explained why women were ten times more likely than men to be suffering from the eating disorder, The Daily Mail quoted lead researcher Marco Procopio as saying.
''It leads us to believe that oestrogen is having a major effect in the womb. Too much of the hormone can make a baby into a teenage anorexic.'' The study lends credence to research which suggests the brains of anorexics behave differently to those of non-anorexics.