Eating disorders in South Asia: Should we be concerned?

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Abstract

Eating disorders are a group of psychiatric conditions characterised by disturbances in eating behaviour along with severe concern regarding bodyweight and shape, which appear to be on the rise in South Asian countries. These disorders are commonly observed in young individuals and are caused by a complex interaction of genetic, biological, psychological and social factors and associated with a wide range of adverse physical, psychological and social consequences. Treatment of these disorders can be quite expensive as it requires specialised care from a multidisciplinary team. Hence, prevention of eating disorders is essential; this should focus on modifiable risk factors such as the media and low self-esteem, which contribute to body image dissatisfaction in young people and increases their risk of developing an eating disorder. This article provides recommendations for prevention of eating disorders specifically in the South Asian context.

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