The number of children in Japan diagnosed with anorexia nervosa, an eating disorder, remained high in the third year after the outbreak of COVID-19, a survey by a government-linked institute has found.

Anorexia nervosa is a disorder in which people have abnormally low body weight as a result of excessive dieting or vomiting after consuming food. People suffering from the condition face risks of it affecting their everyday life.

The number of anorexia nervosa cases among children spiked some 50% in fiscal 2020, when the novel coronavirus crisis began, from fiscal 2019. Cases in fiscal 2022 were 40% higher than the level in fiscal 2019, before the pandemic, according to the survey by the National Center for Child Health and Development.