Combating eating disorders: Doctor inspires young to 'Spot the Signs'

A young doctor from Hampshire who almost died from anorexia when she was a teenager has launched a film to help schoolchildren recognise and combat-eating disorders.

When Elizabeth McNaught was 14, she had to be hospitalised. Her long recovery inspired her to become a doctor and help others.

  • Watch this report by Rachel Hepworth who went to meet her:

Twelve years after she almost died from anorexia, Lizzie McNaught returns to her old school.

Now recovered and a successful doctor, she's sharing her experience to help others.

She's been working with pupils at the school to produce a film called 'Spot the Signs' about a day in the life of a young person.

It uses the mnemonic ABCDE- AbsenceBodyControlDietExercise.

  • Dr Lizzie McNaught, Anorexia survivor

  • Signs of Anorexia

The main symptom of anorexia is deliberately losing a lot of weight or keeping your body weight much lower than is healthy for your age and height.

Signs and symptoms include:

  • skipping meals

  • not engaging with family members

  • self-conscious about body shape

  • extreme dieting

  • being obsessive about exercise

The main symptom of anorexia is deliberately losing a lot of weight Credit: Spot the Signs- The Pollard Management Company ltd

Beat Eating Disorders estimate that around 1.25 million people in the UK have an eating disorder.

Overall, there has not been sufficient research to draw firm conclusions about the prevalence of eating disorders in the UK.

But BED calculated the most accurate estimate with the data available to us. They looked at a series of studies that investigated prevalence of eating disorders among different genders, age ranges, and diagnoses, and sought to combine these into one total.

  • Females

  • Males

It's been an eye-opener for the actors too- both girls and boys.

  • Henry Roberts and Kate Chant, students and actors

Conversation about mental health has opened up but there are still huge misconceptions.

It's hoped this film will be a starting point for discussion in schools not just about spotting the signs- but knowing how to respond