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Arch Dis Child. 1992 Jan;67(1):103-5.

Do doctors recognise eating disorders in children?

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Department of Psychological Medicine, Hospital for Sick Children, London.


The aim of this study was to determine whether doctors recognise eating disorders in children, in particular anorexia nervosa. A group of paediatricians, general practitioners, and school medical officers was approached to participate in the study. Each was sent a questionnaire including two case vignettes of children with anorexia nervosa and questions about diagnosis and management. The response rate was 64.5%. Of 97 different diagnosis suggested, only one quarter were psychiatric or psychological. One third of the paediatricians mentioned anorexia nervosa within their differential diagnosis in both cases compared with 2% of primary care physicians. These results suggest that doctors' awareness of childhood onset eating disorders remains limited. A delay in appropriate treatment has potentially adverse consequences for prognosis.

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