Weight loss shows spark fears of child eating disorders

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Melbourne, Aug 24 (ANI): In wake of the increasing number of eating disorder cases, experts have warned that kids should be banned from watching weight loss shows.

Figures from Queensland Health show the number of children aged 13 or under being diagnosed with eating disorders at community mental health services jumped from 14 in 2002-2003 to 57 in 2007-2008.

The most severe child eating disorder cases rose slightly in five years, from 13 children aged under 14 admitted to hospital in the public sector between 2002-2003 to 17 in 2007-2008.

Queensland Health said the figures could underestimate the extent of cases, as more children were seen by the private sector.

Julie Parker, general manager of the Butterfly Foundation, which supports people with eating disorders, said that weight loss shows are 'dangerous' for children.

"We constantly have a dieting and thin culture in front of us and children and young people are exposed like never before," the Courier Mail quoted Parker as saying.

She said kids in particular should not be exposed to extreme weight loss programs as they presented "a very warped and unrealistic view of exercise, dieting and health".

Eating Disorders Association (Qld) Resource Centre co-ordinator Desi Achilleos said any information that made people feel bad about themselves for not having an ideal body weight and size was unsafe for children. (ANI)

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