New compulsory health education should help children spot the signs of eating disorders

The Department for Education has launched proposals to make health education compulsory in primary and secondary schools. The proposals aim to ensure children are taught about mental wellbeing and how to recognise when they and others are struggling with mental health and how to respond.

Welcoming the news, Beat’s Director of External Affairs Tom Quinn said:

“These new proposals recognise the importance of mental health for children. Anorexia nervosa is the second highest onset mental illness among girls aged 15 to 19, and doctors are reporting more diagnoses of eating disorders than ever.

“The proposals list mental wellbeing and keeping safe online alongside physical health and fitness. Measures to improve children’s physical health, such as anti-obesity campaigns, must also consider their mental health and the effect they may have on people vulnerable to eating disorders.

“Schools can play a vital role in ensuring children get help for an eating disorder early, which gives them the best chance of recovery. Health education must include spotting the signs of eating disorders and what to do if a young person is worried about their own or a friend’s health.”

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