November 3 2021
TOKYO – The number of young people in Japan newly diagnosed with the eating disorder anorexia rose about 60 percent in fiscal 2020 from the previous year, due possibly to increased stress and anxiety amid the coronavirus pandemic, a survey showed.
Despite the uptick in patients, some hospitals saw a lack of beds available for those with serious conditions, as they likely had to give up beds to treat COVID-19 patients, according to the survey released last month by the National Center for Child Health and Development.
Anorexia nervosa is an eating disorder that is characterized by an abnormally low body weight, an obsessive fear of gaining weight and a distorted perception of weight. It can lead to a life-threatening condition or even death.
The survey found 28 boys and 230 girls under 20 years old were newly diagnosed with the eating disorder in fiscal 2020 through March this year, both up over 60 percent from the previous year.
Nine boys and 132 girls were newly hospitalized due to anorexia, up from six and 93, respectively, from the previous year.
The center conducted the survey in two months through the end of June with the help of 26 medical institutions in 19 of the nation’s 47 prefectures.