Letter: Causes of anorexia

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The Independent Online
Sir: Whilst applauding Dr Dee Dawson for the sentiments expressed in her speech to the Girls' Schools Association ("Let children eat crisps, says doctor", 28 November), I feel that by concentrating on the nutritional needs of children she is diverting attention from the main issue regarding the onset of eating disorders.

We need to look further than an apparent desire to emulate supermodels or a striving for physical fitness. Eating disorders are more commonly caused by the sufferers' own perceived lack of ability to measure up to the stringent expectations set by our highly competitive society, of achieving high academic standards and a successful career, and all this with apparent ease. In these days of school league tables, teachers must be alert to the needs of these sensitive and perfectionist pupils who frequently are an asset to their schools but at great cost to themselves.

Since food is the means by which life is sustained, its denial can be a resignation from the pressures of life itself.

PENELOPE BAILY

Newmarket House Clinic

Norwich

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