Anorexia nervosa

This is an eating disorder most common among teenage girls, although boys can also have it.

The main symptoms are things like making yourself sick or starving yourself as you’ve an obsessive fear of putting on weight, thinking you’re overweight even if you’re very thin, organ failure as you don’t have enough nourishment and emotional symptoms like depression and mood swings.

Bulimia nervosa

This is an eating disorder involving binge eating and then making yourself sick to stop weight gain.
The symptoms are binge eating, making yourself sick, taking laxatives to make you go to the toilet, feeling guilty and depressed, over-exercising, and things like irritable bowel syndrome, dehydration, teeth erosion and sore throat.

Even though people with bulimia may look a normal weight, their bodies aren't absorbing the essential nutrients they need. This can lead to organ failure, internal bleeding, heart attack and even death.

Binge eating

Binge Eating Disorder means having a lack of control over the amount of food you eat, and eating extreme amounts. It’s a part of bulimia nervosa, but it doesn’t involve making yourself sick, so people who binge eat quickly put on weight and can become obese.

Symptoms of binge eating include frequent eating of large amounts of food in short periods of time (often alone to stop others seeing), eating the same amounts even when not hungry, eating much more quickly than normal, feeling disgusted and guilty after eating and having negative, guilty feelings about food and eating.

The health risks of binge eating are mainly clinical obesity, but others include high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, heart disease, diabetes and gallbladder disease.

Body Mass Index (BMI)

Do you think you’re overweight? You can work out your BMI (Body Mass Index) using the NHS online calculator - this will give you some idea whether you’re overweight or not for your age and height. You can also ask someone like your school nurse or doctor to do it for you, to get a properly accurate result.

Not great results? Don’t worry - there are two very easy things you can do:

  • Get into better eating habits, eat sensibly and stick to a balanced diet (not a celebrity one).
  • Do some physical exercise – start with an hour a week broken down into 20 minute sessions so you can get your heart rate up and break a sweat.‚Äč