There should be a national approach that allows for early detection and treatment of eating disorders. The Health Council has written this in the advice sent to the Ministry of Health.
According to the council, there is currently little knowledge in the community, for example, of early detection of eating disorders, and limited intelligence in the number of patients.
Four eating disorders
For advice, among other things, the scientific literature was reviewed and the Council spoke with experts and organizations about four disorders: anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, overeating disorder and eating disorder ARFID.
The first three disorders are most common in women between the ages of 15 and 30. ARFID is most commonly found in children at a very young age.
Early detection is ‘essential’
The Health Council emphasizes that early detection and treatment of eating disorders is “essential” because the prognosis is better and recovery is faster. “Eating disorders are less severe and the burden on young people and those around them is lower,” the council wrote.
It now takes an average of four years for a young person with an eating disorder to receive appropriate assistance. To reduce this period, the Council proposes to invest in greater knowledge. For example, a national registration system should be established to better understand the number of patients and the extent and severity of the problem.
Strong research agenda
In connection with the prevention of eating disorders, the Council recommends focusing on making young people mentally resilient and increasing media literacy, reducing the vulnerability of young people to beauty ideals on social media. Parents need to be provided with more and better information so that any disturbances can be noticed in advance.
Furthermore, the Council states that there should be a “solid research agenda” because relatively little progress has been made in understanding how to prevent and recognize food disorders in the “last ten years”.
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