Anorexia Nervosa

Anorexia Nervosa: What is it?

Associated with abnormal beliefs and preoccupations about one’s weight and/or body shape, anorexia nervosa involves self-induced weight loss. Female teenagers are most likely to suffer from this condition.

In the video below, Dr. Sarah Jarvis discusses in summary what Anorexia Nervosa is and how it can affect those who suffer from it.


BMI (Body Mass Index)

A person’s BMI, or body mass index, is one way to determine if they are at a healthy weight. This is calculated based on someone’s height and weight. The weight of an adult is calculated by dividing their height in meters squared by their weight in kilograms (kg).

The BMI is calculated as Weight (kg) / Height (m2)


Using the NHS website below, you can explore BMI by inputting your weight and height to explore this measure.

Find out what your BMI is with the BMI calculator

BMI scores between 18.5 and 24.9 indicate a healthy weight.

Typically, an overweight individual’s BMI is below 18.5. This measure is not only useful for screening for eating disorders, but also for diagnosing them. Anorexia Nervosa is a particular condition for which it is useful for diagnosis and management. A person diagnosed with anorexia nervosa has a body mass index (BMI) of less than 17.5.

A list of symptoms and signs

The following signs and symptoms may also be displayed by someone suffering from Anorexia Nervosa.

  • The fear of ‘fatness’ or a preoccupation with it

  • Body image distortion

  • It is often possible to lose weight by skipping meals, eating small portions, or avoiding fattening foods.

  • Anorexia Nervosa patients may lie about what they eat and how much they weigh

  • Eating rituals are strict

  • Besides self-induced vomiting and purging, excessive exercise or appetite suppressant use, other weight loss measures may be used as well

  • It is possible for women to stop having menstrual periods

  • Symptoms such as dizziness or lightheadedness, fainting, feeling cold, feeling very tired, hair loss from the scalp, dry skin, etc.

  • Hands and feet with poor circulation

  • Hair that grows on the body in fine, downy strands

  • Libido loss

Anorexia Nervosa warning signs

It is important to find out more about Anorexia Nervosa if someone exhibits the following signs:

  • A dramatic loss of weight

  • Telling lies about how much they ate or how heavy they are

  • Eating alone instead of with others

  • In an attempt to disguise how little they are eating, they cut food into very small pieces or eat very slowly

  • Wearing loose clothing to conceal their weight loss or their thinness

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