Children as young as five-years-old are being hospitalised for anorexia, according to NHS figures, and doctors are blaming skinny celebrities.
Ninety-eight children between five and seven were treated in hospital for anorexia in the last three years. Ninety-nine children between eight and nine were hospitalised in the same period.
Information released under the Freedom of Information Act revealed that another 1,900 sufferers between 10 and 15 were taken into hospital for the disease in the last three years.
Senior doctors and nutritionists warn that young children – especially girls – are getting an “unhealthy relationship” with food.
Experts have warned that girls of primary school age are comparing themselves to size zero models and celebrities.
Susan Ringwood, chief executive of eating disorders charity, Beat, said: “The ideal figure promoted for women these days is that of a girl, not an adult women. Girls see the pictures in magazines of extremely thin women and think that is how they should be.
"That can leave them fearful of puberty, and almost trying to stave it off.
"A number of factors combine to trigger eating disorders; biology and genetics play a large part in their development, but so do cultural pressures, and body image seems to be influencing younger children much more over the past decade.’
A recent survey by the YMCA found that almost half of girls under 14 have been on a diet.