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Who's at risk of getting anorexia?

BMJ Group Medical Reference

Things that can increase your chances of getting anorexia are called risk factors. Here's a list of some of them.

  • Being female. Ten women get anorexia for every one man who gets it. [12]

  • Having mental health problems that affect your mood, such as depression and anxiety (intense worry) or obsessive-compulsive disorder. [5] [12] [13] [14]

  • Having a job or hobby that makes you feel you have to be thin. Ballet dancers, gymnasts, and models are under a lot of pressure to be thin. [5] [12] [13] [14] For men, sports like bodybuilding and wrestling increase their risk of getting anorexia. [5]

  • Having low self-esteem. Thinking you're no good at anything or won't amount to anything increases your chances of getting anorexia. [12]

  • Wanting to be perfect and accepting nothing less. [13] [14] [15]

  • Being unhappy with your weight and shape. [12]

  • Getting teased by others about your body. [5] [15]

  • Being white and financially well off. [5]

  • Feeling grief or deep sadness that you can't get over, about something bad that happened. [12]

  • Being sexually abused as a child. [12]

  • Having had problems digesting food and eating as a child. [12]

  • Inheriting certain genes. [12] [5] Having a female relative with anorexia in your immediate family, especially an identical twin, increases your chance of getting anorexia. [5]


obsessive-compulsive disorder

Obsessive-compulsive disorder is a psychological illness. People who have it can't keep certain thoughts out of their minds. Or they feel they have to do certain things all the time, such as washing their hands. This makes it hard for them to live a normal life.

For more terms related to Anorexia


For references related to Anorexia click here.
Last Updated: September 19, 2012
This information does not replace medical advice.  If you are concerned you might have a medical problem please ask your Boots pharmacy team in your local Boots store, or see your doctor.

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