New Eating Disorder Trends

By KBJR News 1

January 13, 2012 Updated Jan 13, 2012 at 12:37 AM CDT

Duluth, MN (Northland's NewsCenter) --- Eating disorders are on the rise across the nation.

A new Minnesota study shows a change in the types of disorders, and a growing number of people who are compulsively overeating.

"Whether it's the pressure to be thin, the pressure to be beautiful," said Dr. Carolyn Phelps, Director of Outpatient Therapy at the Human Development Center.

When you think eating disorder, you usually think of anorexia or bulimia.

And while those disorders are still very prevalent, a new study conducted by the University of Minnesota shows obesity and overeating is trending upwards.

The number of obesity cases among boys in the Twin Cities has increased by 7.8 percent within the last decade.

Treatment centers across the state, like The Emily Program are feeling the increase.

"Well we're seeing a rise in general and then the majority of the rise is with compulsive over eating, binge eating, so an over eating disorder as opposed to an under eating disorder," said Keri Clifton, Community Outreach Coordinator at the Emily Program.

When it comes to childhood obesity, health professionals HDC said the best treatment involves the entire family.

"This isn't the kid making the decisions on their own, about the food that's coming in the house or the food that they're eating," said Phelps.

While The Emily Program is seeing an increase in patients across the board, there is a bright spot in the study conducted by the U of M.

Fewer girls are practicing unhealthy ways to manage their weight, such as purging or smoking.

An estimated 200,000 people struggle with an eating disorder of some sort in Minnesota, with the majority of them never seeking treatment.

Reported by LeAnn Wallace