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Are Eating Disorders Contagious?

Much like the common cold or flu virus, could eating disorders be contagious?

It appears so, according to a new study of about 15,000 high school students. Researchers found eating disorder behaviors such as bingeing on food, restricting food and using diet pills tended to be clustered within counties.

The clustered eating disorder symptoms were mostly found among girls, where the pressure to be thin tends to be highest. The same clustering effect was not seen in purging.

Researchers think girls tend to be more secretive about that type of weight control.


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