Eating-related problems are common in adolescence and tend to be temporary. But in about 10% of cases adolescents continue with their disordered eating patterns increasing the risk of a serious eating disorder. A two-stage study of 15-17 year olds in Finland asked them about their eating patterns at the start of the study and then again a year later. 11% reported symptoms of an eating disorder at the start of the study and 12% did so a year later. 5% reported eating problems at both time points and of these children 84% were girls. There were higher rates of psychological problems and more mental health complaints in those who reported symptoms at both time points and an increased level of anxiety about, and dissatisfaction with bodily appearance. Those who only reported symptoms at one time point also had higher rates of psychological problems and more health complaints than those with no symptoms.
Hautala, L. ... [et al] - Adolescents with fluctuating symptoms of eating disorders: a one-year prospective study Journal of Advanced Nursing 62(6), 674-680