Beat has responded to the NHS 2019 Health Survey for England, which found that 16% of adults aged 16 and over screened positive for a possible eating disorder, up from 6% in 2007.
Beat’s Chief Executive, Andrew Radford, says:
‘These figures are shocking and highlight that eating disorders may be an even bigger issue than previously thought. They clearly show that stronger action is needed to ensure everyone with, or at risk of, an eating disorder gets the support and treatment they need.
‘The additional government funding being provided for eating disorder services, is very welcome news, but in children’s services it appears to be too often diverted elsewhere, while for adults the amount simply needs to be increased and released more quickly.
'Workforce planning must also be stepped up so that eating disorder services can recruit the professionals they need to deal with this rising demand.
‘The finding that people living with obesity are more likely to be affected by an eating disorder raises two important points. Firstly, the Government must change tack to ensure its anti-obesity campaigns do not increase the risk to people with eating disorders. And secondly, urgent action is needed to reverse the chronic underfunding – and in some cases the total absence – of binge eating disorder services.
'It is essential that services are significantly expanded so that anyone affected, from any diagnosis, can get the help they need at the very earliest opportunity.’