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Do doctors recognise eating disorders in children?
  1. R J Bryant-Waugh,
  2. B D Lask,
  3. R L Shafran,
  4. A R Fosson
  1. Department of Psychological Medicine, Hospital for Sick Children, London.

    Abstract

    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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