Finnish study queries anorexia figures

August 17, 2007

The level of anorexia among young women may be far higher than previously thought, a Finnish study suggests.

In data from Helsinki University, anorexia occurs at a rate equivalent to 0 cases per 100,000 women aged 15 to 19 per year. The study found a much higher rate of anorexia than previous studies, which indicate a rate of between 109 and 136 cases per 100,000 people per year.

The earlier studies looked at cases that had been treated, whereas the Finnish study assessed 292 twins with symptoms of the illness, 134 symptom-free twins and 210 randomly chosen people who did not have the disorder.

Almost 67 per cent of women with the illness recovered within five years and their psychological recovery was almost complete after five more years.

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