Eating disorders pose serious hazards to adolescents and young adults and are often hidden from family, friends and even doctors, sometimes until the disorders cause lasting health damage and have become highly resistant to treatment.

According to the Family Institute at Northwestern University, nearly 3 percent of teenagers between the ages of 13 and 18 have eating disorders. Boys as well as girls may be affected. Even when the disorder does not reach the level of a clinical diagnosis, some studies suggest that as many as half of teenage girls and 30 percent of boys have seriously distorted eating habits that can adversely affect them physically, academically, psychologically and socially.

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