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28 October 2014
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Reporter: Kate , 16
Anorexia: True Story
Models on a catwalk
Fashion puts girls under pressure to lose weight

Would you know if a friend or loved one had anorexia?

Kate's friend Lorna had anorexia. She was clever at hiding the symptoms from her family and friends.

SEE ALSO

Lorna's progress - we have an update on this story
NHS Walk -In Centre

BBC Ask Doctor
BBC Nutrition

WEB LINKS

Eating Disorders Association
Food Standards Agency

Raising Kids

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external websites.

FACTS

Teenage girls need to pay special attention to iron as their iron stores are depleted each month following menstruation.

Iron is found in both red meat and non-meat sources, such as fortified breakfast cereal, dried fruit, bread, and green leafy vegetables.

Recommended calorie intake for average 15-18 yr old female - 2200 per day.

For the average 15-18 yr old male it is 3000 per day.

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We have an indepth and deeply moving report by schoolgirl Kate Jackson, who's friend Lorna is recovering from the illness, anorexia.

Kate looks at the problem of eating disorders, and then interviews Lorna about her illness, aswell as Lorna's family and friends about the signs they missed. We've provided web links to organisations who can help you if you think you or someone you know has an eating disorder. Here's Kate's report...

The desire to be thin

Eating disorders like bulimia and anorexia can have disastrous effects on a person’s life. 1 in 10 cases of anorexia end in death from starvation, cardiac arrest or suicide. Anorexia is a dangerous condition where-by people stop eating to lose weight quickly.

This could be because they aren’t happy with their bodies. The belief that they are too fat could stem from many things such as: bullying, loneliness, family problems or the desire to be as thin as certain celebrities.

Teenagers are regularly subjected to images of famous actors, singers and dancers in the print and broadcast media who are frequently thin and idolized. In their attempt to emulate their heroes teenagers think that they have to be thinner than they are, this can make them resort to an eating disorder.

The warning signs

How can we tell if someone is anorexic? There are many signs that a person is anorexic. Some signs aren’t as obvious as others, for example:

People who suffer from anorexia make excuses not to eat at every meal and often wear loose clothing to hide their bodies, which they believe aren’t the right size.

Other signs are: not eating in front of people, wanting to be around food a lot to prove to themselves they can resist the temptation and losing lots of weight over a short amount of time.

In the most extreme cases the anorexia could turn into bulimia where the person eats large amounts of food and then vomits to rid their bodies of the excess calories.

A model
Teenagers are frequently exposed to images in the media.

After noticing these signs there are several things you can do to help: try to understand, it is, after all, a medical condition, which can kill.

Don’t try and force them to eat – it won’t work- believe me, we’ve tried! Don’t talk down to them – they’re ill, not stupid! Don’t feel uncomfortable eating around them – they’re the one with the problem, not you.

How to be supportive

Being around food may even help – you never know. Try being supportive; find out more about their condition, then you’ll understand what they’re going through.

Encourage them to eat small amounts, but don’t be too pushy – it’ll backfire on you, and there’s nothing worse than taking one step forwards and two steps back. Try to get advice on what to do from teachers or other adults. The more you know about the condition can’t hurt.

Medical treatment could be the last resort for some people. Try getting medical advice, remember, this condition can kill and there are clinics specially equipped for people with eating disorders.

My schoolfriend, Lorna, is having treatment for anorexia and has agreed to be interviewed about her condition. We noticed Lorna had a problem when we were 13, but she wouldn’t admit to it.

Her condition was finally recognised by doctors about two years later. Lorna was then taken in to a clinic for medical treatment, which lasted a year.

Read Lorna's story..... Read Lorna's story

 

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