Written evidence submitted by Anne Ryan (MISS0004)


This is an issue which over recent years has moved from the shadows – but is still characterised by prejudice and myths.

Although the disease does impact on younger women – the ‘typical’ sufferer is not the upper class white teenage girl – all sectors of society are victims of a disease which particularly impacts on those who believe they do not measure to society’s ideal.

Whilst there has been an increase in health spending on treatment of young people, older women in particular often live for years with unacknowledged conditions, when they seek treatment they often face long waiting lists.

Older women may not appear to be the targets of social media pressures – which are often ‘blamed’ for the rise in eating disorders, they do face myriad other pressures and disordered eating may result. For women, in particular, the relationship with food and their bodies may become the focus for anxiety.

Eating disorders, have a higher mortality rate than any other medical illness – without recognition and treatment too many people from every sector of society may risk their physical and mental health.

It is time for the health services and Government to recognize this issue.


April 2020