<h2>Eating disorders: the latest theories</h2>

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Religion: Some researchers have found an increased prevalence of eating disorders among Catholics and Jews, while others discovered such problems were unheard of among young Amish people.

Religion: Some researchers have found an increased prevalence of eating disorders among Catholics and Jews, while others discovered such problems were unheard of among young Amish people.

Culture: Research among teenagers in Saudi Arabia shows those who could speak English, had higher education and whose parents had above-average jobs, were more likely to diet. The incidence of anorexia in Iran is the same an in Western societies.

Premature babies: Babies born prematurely are more likely to develop anorexia later in life, according to a Swedish study. Researchers say women born eight weeks premature were three times more likely to be anorexic.

Abuse: Abuse may result in anorexia in both boys and girls, according to a study in Minneapolis. Strong family ties may reduce the risk.

Mothers: Researchers found that girls with eating disorders were more likely to have had abnormal mother-daughter relationships.

Dieting: People who develop anorexia after 25 are more likely than younger patients to have followed longer periods of dieting, say researchers at St George's Hospital.

Brain size: Researchers say they found the brains of young anorexic girls appeared different to the norm, suggesting a biological cause for the illness.

Models: An obsession with painfully thin models has contributed to the growth in eating disorders among girls and women, say researchers.

Not models: Researchers found cases of anorexia in rural Ghana, belying the model theory. The girls gave various reasons, including religious fasting, as well as dieting for a greater sense of self-control.

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