Archive for the ‘press’ Category

eating disorders: latest theories…

February 3, 2008

Some interesting re-search

published in


The Independent

Thursday, 23 November 2000


Religion: Some researchers have found an increased prevalence of eating disorders among Catholics and Jews, while others discovered such problems were unheard of among young Amish people.


Culture: Research among teenagers in Saudi Arabia shows those who could speak English, had higher education and whose parents had above-average jobs, were more likely to diet. The incidence of anorexia in Iran is the same an in Western societies.


Premature babies: Babies born prematurely are more likely to develop anorexia later in life, according to a Swedish study. Researchers say women born eight weeks premature were three times more likely to be anorexic.


Abuse: Abuse may result in anorexia in both boys and girls, according to a study in Minneapolis. Strong family ties may reduce the risk.

Mothers: Researchers found that girls with eating disorders were more likely to have had abnormal mother-daughter relationships.


Dieting: People who develop anorexia after 25 are more likely than younger patients to have followed longer periods of dieting, say researchers at St George’s Hospital.



Brain size: Researchers say they found the brains of young anorexic girls appeared different to the norm, suggesting a biological cause for the illness.


Models: An obsession with painfully thin models has contributed to the growth in eating disorders among girls and women, say researchers.

Not models: Researchers found cases of anorexia in rural Ghana, belying the model theory. The girls gave various reasons, including religious fasting, as well as dieting for a greater sense of self-control.

Mmmm…… Food for thought?

Cambrian News & S4C this week…

February 1, 2008

—Cambrian News–

Thursday 31st January 2008


Many thanks to Lib Dem MP Mark Williams for the article:

“Ceredigion could house first eating disorder centre”

(P.5 in this week’s Cambrian News).

Just to clarify… the Welsh Centre for Recovery Project has made a lottery application of £1 million – not five…

To put this into context, last year health commission wales spent over £3 million referring people to England for residential care.


I am meeting with Mark Williams later this month and also have an appointment with local Plaid AM Elin Jones on Friday 8th Feb.


Monday 4th Feb 2008, 3pm

A short program filmed about eating disorders (with GMF and Cyswllt Contact Ceredigion) will air – in Welsh but… wait for it… wait for it… with SUBTITLES! Hoorah!

Our trustee Rhodri Francis will be speaking; and the program also interviews a local person in recovery from anorexia nervosa.

Don’t miss it!

BBC Wales, 15th Jan 2008

January 26, 2008
Call for eating disorder strategy

Woman on scales (generic)

Severe psychological problems increase the risk of eating disorders

There has been a call for a national strategy to tackle the problem of eating disorders in Wales. It came as AMs were invited to the first meeting of a cross-party committee to examine the issues, set up by South Wales West AM Bethan Jenkins.

Meanwhile, a charity is putting together a £1m lottery bid to set up the first dedicated residential centre in Wales, near Aberystwyth.

There are an estimated 56,000 people in Wales with eating issues.

The National Institute for Eating Disorders also estimates one in five die as a result.

At present, there is no dedicated residential treatment centre in Wales.

While local community provision for sufferers does exist, Ms Jenkins said people who reached a more critical stage of the illness had to go to England for residential care.

Work is underway to provide residential spaces for children and young people with mental health problems, at the Princess of Wales Hospital in Bridgend.

Bethan Jenkins AM
When people reach the more serious stage of the illness, there is nowhere to go in Wales
Bethan Jenkins AM

But this is not expected to be ready until 2009 and is not an exclusive unit for those with eating disorders.

Health Minister Edwina Hart said: “I have made this issue a priority and we are working towards enhancing intensive community-based services together with providing dedicated specialist care in a new development in Bridgend.”

A Welsh Assembly Government spokesman said many mental health conditions were inter-related so there would be a range of health professionals available at the unit who would be able to offer help and support.

Ms Jenkins told BBC Wales: “Many of my constituents have approached me with concerns that they have had to receive private treatment in Bristol or London.

“While community services are available for treatment, when people do reach the more serious stage of the illness, there is nowhere to go in Wales.

“I’m concerned we are pumping millions of pounds into the English health services for treatment we could be providing in Wales.”

The Plaid Cymru AM welcomed Ms Hart’s comments, but believed there was more work to be done.

This includes research into the condition in Wales and looking at preventative measures alongside providing treatment facilities.

“We need a national strategy. I think when we get to the specialised end of the scale there is a significant gap in resources and is something that [Edwina Hart] can work on alongside Health Commission Wales (HCW).”


Someone with personal experience of eating disorders at the first committee meeting is Rowenna Menzies, whose weight dropped to four stone when she was aged 17.

She is director of the Graham Menzies Foundation – named in honour of her late partner – which is hoping to set up a specialist residential unit to treat conditions like anorexia.

“When Graham died almost a year ago I took on the work and set up the foundation. I think the cross-party committee is a great idea,” she said.

The foundation is in the process of applying for a £1m lottery grant.

This would provide half the funding to run a centre for five years and provide 50% of the salaries for 14 members of staff.

If successful, the unit would be based just outside Aberystwyth.

Ms Menzies said Ceredigion had the highest rate per head of population of eating disorders in Wales.

Call for strategy on eating disorders

January 26, 2008

Western Mail Article:

Call for strategy on eating disorders

It’s estimated that 56,000 people in Wales have an eating disorder and yet there is no national strategy to tackle the issue and no dedicated treatment centre for sufferers. Bethan Jenkins, Plaid Cymru AM for South Wales West, explains why she set up the Assembly’s first cross-party committee on eating disorders

WE LIVE in an age where the pressures of a reality television and celebrity role-model society weigh heavy on us all, not least on those who are most susceptible – young people.

The size-zero phenomenon is something that truly concerns me. As someone still young enough to get away with reading popular magazines aimed at young women, I am truly startled by the recklessness of many as they sit in judgment on those who do not fit their “perfect figure” criteria.

Since being elected as the youngest member of the National Assembly, I was struck by the apparent lack of headway made on the issue of eating disorders. It appears that social perceptions of such illnesses remain a taboo subject for many. But I am in no doubt that the magnitude of the issue is such that the Assembly and Government must act decisively.

To put eating disorders into context, it is estimated that there are around 56,000 sufferers in Wales and, according to the National Institute for Eating Disorders, one in five die as a result of their illness.

The mental health charity Mind says that as many as one woman in 20 will have eating patterns that are cause for concern – most will be aged between 14 and 25.

There is no dedicated residential treatment centre in Wales specifically for sufferers. While I recognise that community provision does exist, those who reach a more critical stage of illness have no option but to seek private care in England. Having said that, work is under way to provide residential spaces for children and young people with mental health problems in Bridgend. But this will not be an exclusive unit for those suffering for eating disorders.

My meetings with sufferers and with stakeholders have led me to the conclusion that we need joined-up thinking and a clear strategy for eating disorders in Wales.

There is no national strategy in Wales on eating disorders at the moment, and in order to rectify this I deemed it appropriate to establish a cross-party committee on eating disorders at the National Assembly. I was delighted that Assembly members from all parties attended, and was pleased with the honest input of Health Minister Edwina Hart.

The committee agreed that a national strategy was needed, and further agreed to compile a declaration of objectives in time for Eating Disorders Awareness Week, which we will launch at the National Assembly on February 27.

This new and exciting project is one that I am truly convinced will make a real difference to the lives of those who suffer from eating disorders, their families and friends.

My eyes were opened to the severity of the situation when I met a constituent who suffered from anorexia. She has been battling the condition for three years, and explained how she felt she would not get the treatment she needed until she was on the verge of death.

A lack of funding meant she had to wait a year before she was offered the specialist treatment she needed outside of Wales – at a private hospital in Bristol.

I am clear that any national strategy will need to tackle this problem on many fronts, not least in reversing current misconceptions – only 1% of young people recently surveyed by charity Beat felt they could talk to their parents about eating disorders.

The challenge we face affects us all. As we take the first tentative steps in addressing this issue in Wales, I am hopeful that we can reach a just outcome for those who need our care and support.

Eating Disorders- support for the cross party group.

January 26, 2008

Letter in the Western Mail:

Eating disorder need

SIR – I welcome the call by Bethan Jenkins to improve the services dedicated to treating eating disorders in Wales (Health Wales, January 21).

Despite over 50,000 people in Wales suffering from such disorders, the limited in-patient service offered in Wales is over-run and community services are limited and stretched to breaking point.

Anorexia nervosa has the highest mortality rate of all mental illnesses. It impacts on the patients’ physical and mental status, and also transforms their lives and that of their family and loved ones.

Unless patients are treated quickly then their obsession with food, exercise and their illogical desire to be thin turns into a live threatening, life-dominating condition.

As a medical student who has suffered from anorexia, I have seen the effects of this condition from both sides. I am only too aware of the dangers of the condition, as well as the illogical thoughts that possesses a sufferers’ mind.

At a time when preventing obesity seems high on the agenda in the UK, let us not forget those at the other end of the spectrum who are underweight, undernourished and suffering in silence as anorexia and bulimia torment and haunt their everyday lives. No family should have to travel over the border to receive treatment for what is an already immensely burdensome condition. I only hope WAG listen to Ms Jenkins’s call and also take note of the silent cries of many eating disorder sufferers across Wales. I only hope that as a practising doctor in six months time I will be able to offer help to my patients close to their homes to overcome their dying desire to diet.


Fifth year medical student, Cardiff University. Pant, Merthyr Tydfil

If you are interested, please join the launch of the eating disorders cross party group campaign on the 27th of February at the National Assembly for Wales.