New Research says half of anorexia sufferers 'develop eating disorder by age of 10'
Half of people with eating disorders develop the condition at primary school, according to a new survey (posed by model)
More than half of anorexia sufferers develop their eating disorder by the age of ten, according to new research.
A survey found thousands of young girls are affected by eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia - conditions that are normally associated with teenagers.
Family traumas such as parents divorcing are fuelling eating problems at primary schools.
The study, by support group Overeaters Anonymous GB, found 53 per cent of sufferers said they first developed a problem with food at ten or under.
Just under a third (29 per cent) said they were 11 to 15 when their anorexia began.
A spokesman said: 'Some might find the results of the survey shocking.
'But, as our members have underlined, it is not uncommon for us to see people who developed an eating disorder before they reached their teens.'
The organisation quizzed 250 sufferers through their website.
Mary George, a spokesperson for beat, the leading charity for eating disorders, said: 'Sadly these survey results are not that surprising. We are finding that people being treated for anorexia are getting younger and younger.
'We conducted a similar study earlier this year and found the average age of developing the condition was just 12-years-old. There was even a case of a six-year-old showing signs of the illness.'
The latest survey found more than half blamed their condition on family traumas such as divorce, or the loss of a loved one.
Just three per cent of sufferers said they were influenced by size zero models and skinny pop stars.
Mary George, said: 'Anorexia nervosa is a serious mental health condition and most cases are caused by significant problems in the sufferer's life rather than media imagery.'
Even when a person with anorexia becomes extremely underweight, they still feel compelled to lose more weight and are often in denial.
One in every 200 women in the UK is affected and around five per cent will die from complications caused by malnutrition.