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New anorexia cases among people younger than 20 in Japan grew 60% from the previous year in fiscal 2020 amid the novel coronavirus crisis, a survey by the National Center for Child Health and Development showed Thursday.

“Stress and anxiety stemming from school closures due to the pandemic and other reasons might have affected them,” the center said.

Sufferers of anorexia, a type of eating disorder, severely restrict food intake or vomit after binge eating, becoming dangerously underweight.

The center conducted the survey this spring with the help of 26 medical institutions in 19 prefectures.

The survey found 28 males and 230 females newly diagnosed with anorexia in the year through March 2021. Both figures grew 60% from the previous year.

The number of people newly hospitalized due to anorexia came to nine among males and 132 among females, up 50% and up 40%, respectively.

According to the survey, there are shortages of hospital beds for patients with eating disorders.

“There need to be more medical institutions capable of treating patients with eating disorders,” the center said, while calling on families and schools to pay attention to children’s appetite and weight and refer them to hospitals before their condition becomes serious.

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