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Eating disorders in younger children: current issues and unanswered questions

Phillipa J Hay
Med J Aust 2009; 190 (8): 403-404.
Published online: 20 April 2009

A national study of eating disorders highlights potential underdiagnosis and high rates of complications in 5–13-year-olds

In this issue of the Journal, Madden and colleagues report their prospective investigation of eating disorders in children across Australia (Madden et al).1 This study is an important “first” and investigates the putative increasing problem of early-onset eating disorders (EOEDs) in children aged 5–13 years. Over 3 years, detailed data were collected by the Australian Paediatric Surveillance Unit for 101 children who were managed either as outpatients or in hospital for EOEDs — mainly from paediatricians, but also from child psychiatrists. Most children were hospitalised for treatment. The study raises interesting issues and unanswered questions about eating disorders.

  • Phillipa J Hay

  • School of Medicine, University of Western Sydney, Sydney, NSW.

Correspondence: p.hay@uws.edu.au

Competing interests:

I have been sponsored by AstraZeneca to provide a lecture at an educational meeting for psychiatrists.

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