Eating disorder does not happen only among certain age groups. A local nutritionist said she once met a girl who developed anorexia nervosa when she was nine years old and weighed merely 70 pounds despite her 5-foot-6 height. She was rushed to hospital many times in recent years after going into shock as a result of disturbed electrolyte balance.
Binge-eating (a symptom of anorexia nervosa) is also quite serious among eating-disorder patients.
Hong Kong Eating Disorders Association Ltd (HEDA) said on Sunday (December 16) the incidence of this problem in Hong Kong has been rising in recent years while the average age of suffers is becoming younger, and most of them are young female aged 15 to 25.
RTHK teamed up with HEDA and organized a get-together on Sunday to spread the message that every one can be beautiful as long as they are physically fit, confident and optimistic. HEDA's resident nutritionist Woo Chi-yam told participants that, under the bad influence of the myth that “thin is beautiful” the problem of eating disorder has been growing in recent years.
Woo also pointed out the average age of patients seeking help has been turning younger with most of them developing eating disorders when they were 12 or 13. She recalled one under-aged patient who had anorexia nervosa at the age of 9 and weighed only 70 pounds at 5-foot-6 tall, but she still felt herself too heavy and insisted on losing weight as soon as she gained another two pounds. She only stayed away from meat and carbohydrates early on but “advanced” to just two apples a day.
A recovered binge eater who identified herself only as Chris shared her experience with other participants , saying she realized she had eating disorder many visits to various weight loss clinics and a total of nearly HK$300,000 later, as her weight yo-yoed between 115 and 180 pounds until one day she decided to seek help from HEDA for good.
Chris told binge eaters not to be afraid of asking for help and face life with a positive attitude, while turning a deaf ear to small talks behind their backs.