Record breaking number of children hospitalised for eating disorders


Public Health England has today released its report showing the trends in numbers of hospital admissions as a result of eating disorders in young people across England, revealing that there were more admissions in 2017/18 than in any of the preceding years.

There were 2,196 hospital admissions for eating disorder of children and young people aged 10 to 24 years in 2017/18. An overwhelming 91% were girls, and 1,326 of these were aged 13 to 17 years.

The report breaks the number of hospital admissions down by specific age and gender and shows that across all ages more girls are admitted to hospital than boys.

Admissions for girls aged just 10 years old have increased by 146%, from 13 in 2013/14 to 32 last year and for 12 year old girls, by 93% (from 60 to 116 in the same time period).

The report states that although bulimia is more common among children and young people, it is anorexia which accounts for the larger proportion of hospital admissions, fuelling concern from leading addiction treatment experts at UKAT.

“Eating disorders in young people and children in particular is extremely concerning because they’re more likely to develop extensive physical and psychiatric problems in the long term as a result of their eating disorder” suggests UKAT’s Group Treatment Lead, Nuno Albuquerque, who has vast experience of treating eating disorders.

He continues; “Unlike most other addictions and disorders, the treatment cannot centre around abstinence, because we need to eat to live. Instead treatment is focused on finding a balance in the relationship between the person and food. For most, overcoming eating disorders developed at such a young age is an ongoing process, and for some, will be something they live with - under controlled behaviours learned from treatment - forever.”

UKAT has also revealed that last year, they admitted more people for eating disorders than ever before, and that this year, they’re taking on average around 5 enquiries a day from concerned parents; double what they were receiving last year. They run a specialist eating disorder treatment facility called Banbury Lodge ( in Oxfordshire.

Public Health England’s report also raises concern about hospital admissions in young boys, showing that back in 2013/14, only one 10 year old boy was admitted to hospital but in 2017/18, there were 9 and for 14 year old boys, 14 were admitted in 2013/14 which has risen by 178% to 39 in 2017/18.

Nuno concludes; “We believe that social media and celebrity idolisation has a lot to do with the rise in eating disorders stemming from body image issues, but there’s also a much deeper societal issue with children experiencing the deficit of attachment from parents.” 

Latest UKAT admissions data for eating disorders

2015: Total Admissions = 848. Eating Disorder Admissions = 33 (4%)

2018: Total Admissions = 2062. Eating Disorder Admissions = 186 (9%)

3 year rise in admissions = 463%

So far in 2019, UKAT is receiving on average 5 enquiries a day for treatment for eating disorders, double what they were receiving last year.

Image courtsey of Olenka Kotyk

Follow the link to read more: Public Health England- Eating disorders in young people. Released 12th July 2019:


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