Schoolgirl aged just ELEVEN among 44 children admitted to one city hospital with anorexia
Four boys, aged 13, 14, 15 and 16, and 40 girls, aged between 11 and 18, were treated for eating disorderThey were taken to Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital between January 2007 and December 2011
16:28 GMT, 31 May 2012
A schoolgirl aged just 11 was among more than 40 children admitted to a city hospital with anorexia over a five-year period, shock new figures have revealed.
Four boys, aged 13, 14, 15 and 16, and 40 girls, aged between 11 and 18, were treated for the severe eating disorder at Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital.
The severely-ill children were taken to the hospital between January 2007 and December 2011, a Freedom of Information request shows.
Big issue: A schoolgirl aged just 11 was among more than 40 children admitted to Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital with anorexia over a five-year period
The bombshell comes as a report by MPs says that more than half of the British public suffers from a negative body image.
The problem is so acute that girls as young as five now worry about their size and appearance.
Norwich-based national eating disorders charity Beat is a member of the Campaign For Body Confidence steering group and submitted evidence to the national inquiry.
The charity says poor body image and low self-esteem are key factors in the development of eating disorders.
It is now working with toiletries giant Dove to provide free self-esteem workshops in schools across Britain.
Penny Baily, founder of Norwich's Newmarket House Clinic, a specialist inpatient hospital for people with eating disorders, said: 'Severe anorexia is a very serious condition.
'It's wrong that people reach such a low level of health before they are admitted for inpatient treatment at a general hospital.'
Half of the British public suffers from a negative body image. The problem is so acute that girls as young as five now worry about their size and appearance
She added: 'When patients are admitted to general wards for re-feeding, they are occupying beds that could be used more appropriately by other patients, for example those with renal or heart conditions.
'They put a strain on medical and nursing staff who have not been training to treat the complex symptoms of this particular illness.
'For 16 years, Newmarket House in Norwich has been accepting NHS-funded patients from Norfolk and other parts of the country.
'It's one of the very few residential specialist hospitals for eating disorders.
'If patients are admitted before their weight has dropped to a critical level, staff at this specialist clinic are able to combine careful re-feeding with psychological interventions to enable the patient to sustain recovery.
'We know through experience that if sufficient investment is made in the treatment of individuals with an eating disorder, even those who are seriously affected can make a full recovery.'