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Disorders start early

AMERICAN EDUCATIONAL RESEARCH ASSOCIATION 2000

CLAIMS that girls at single-sex secondaries are more likely to develop eating disorders are not borne out by the latest US research.

A 1996 Australian study suggested that girls in co-educational schools were less worried about their weight. But a Kentucky survey has found that eating disorders do not seem to be linked to the type of high school. The study involved 227 girls in three schools - a pubic co-ed, a private co-ed and an all-girls' high school.

"It is likely that the predisposition to eating disorders is established prior to high school," the researchers say. "Another study... suggested that concern about body weight is present as early as elementary school."

"Concern over weight, dieting, and fat: females in single sex, private and public high schools, by Gregory J Marchant and Karen L Messmer, Ball State University.

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