Anorexia is an eating disorder that causes people lose more weight than is considered healthy for their age and height.
People with this disorder may have an intense fear of weight gain, even when they are underweight. They may diet or exercise too much or use other ways to lose weight.
Eating disorder - anorexia nervosa
The exact causes of anorexia are not known. Many factors may be involved. Genes and hormones may play a role. Social attitudes that promote very thin body types may also be involved.
Risk factors for anorexia include:
- Being more worried about, or paying more attention to, weight and shape
- Having an anxiety disorder as a child
- Having a negative self-image
- Having eating problems during infancy or early childhood
- Having certain social or cultural ideas about health and beauty
- Trying to be perfect or overly focused on rules
Anorexia often begins during the pre-teen or teen years or young adulthood. It is more common in females, but may also be seen in males.