Eating Disorders are Affecting the Older Generation

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Eating disorders are becoming increasingly more common

The bulk of patients have for many years been the youth. The patient population, however, seems to be expanding in recent years. These days, the world is seeing an increased number of elderly patients developing eating disorders.

According to the 2015 Bodywhys Annual Report, an increasing number of people in their 30s, 40s and 50s are developing eating disorders. Bodywhys Ltd. is the main eating disorders association of Ireland, and their annual report give a clear image of the eating disorder problem in Ireland.

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The Bodywhys report

Bodywhys Ltd. provides phone and email support to people living with eating disorders in Ireland. According to the report, there was a 19 percent increase in email support services provided to people aged between 36 and 55. For the same age group, a 9 percent increase in phone support was observed. The report states that in 2014, 13 percent of those who requested phone support for eating disorders where between the ages of 36 and 55.  Last year, that figure moved to more than 22 percent. For the same age group, 6 percent requested support through email in 2014. Last year, the figure skyrocketed to 25 percent.

A shift in trend

According to Harriet Parsons, Bodywhys services manager, there is a drastic change in the age range that visit their support services. “This has continued in 2015 with a rise in contacts from people aged 36-55. This is further evidence that eating disorders are not confined to teenagers,” says Parsons. The 2015 Bodywhys report shows that about 12 percent of callers were 56 and above. In 2014, there were just 4 percent of such callers. The figures from the annual report prove there is a serious shift in the trend of eating disorder sufferers. It shows many more elderly people are facing the condition.

Eating disorders are no joking matter. The problem has existed since creation, but science showed us that mostly young people were affected. New studies, however, suggest that older people are increasingly being touched by the condition.


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