TAIPEI, Taiwan, June 17 (UPI) -- A study of nearly 16,000 schoolchildren in Taiwan found 10 percent of girls and 16 percent of boys made themselves vomit to lose weight, researchers say.
Dr. Yiing Mei Liou, the director of clinical practice of the School of Nursing at National Yang-Ming University in Taiwan who is the study's lead author, says the researchers' findings have prompted them to issue a warning that self-induced vomiting is an early sign that children could develop eating disorders and serious psychological problems, such as binge eating and anorexia.
The study, published in the Journal of Clinical Nursing, found 13 percent of the 8,673 girls and 7,043 boys who took part in the research admitted they made themselves sick to lose weight. But the figures were higher in younger children, with 16 percent of 10-year-olds to 12-year-olds and 15 percent of 13-year-olds to 15-year-olds vomiting. The figures fell to 8 percent in teens ages 16-18.
"Our study, which was part of a wider research project on health and growth, focused on children who said that they had tried to lose weight in the last year," Liou says in a statement. "It showed that self-induced vomiting was most prevalent in adolescents who had a sedentary lifestyle, slept less and ate unhealthily."