Eating disorders may start in elementary school, according to research conducted at the University of Montreal. The study, presented at a meeting of the Eating Disorders Association of Canada in Vancouver, surveyed data on 215 kids (ages 8-12) with eating problems.
The research team found that over 15 percent made themselves vomit from time to time, 52 percent had been hospitalized because of their eating disorder, and 48 percent had received outpatient treatment.
"Many researchers believe that bulimia only appears at adolescence, but our studies indicate that the problem can arise much earlier. It is possible that it is currently under-diagnosed due to a lack of awareness and investigation," said study author Dominique Meilleur.
"Many factors are associated with the development and persistence of eating disorders," she added. "For some children, bullying can initiate or reinforce body image preoccupations and possibly lead to a change in eating behavior."
Twenty-three percent of the kids questioned said they had been mocked or bullied because of their appearance.