“Anorexia nervosa is an eating disorder characterized by weight loss (or lack of appropriate weight gain in growing children); difficulties maintaining an appropriate body weight for height, age, and stature; and, in many individuals, distorted body image,” according to the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA). Those with anorexia commonly restrict calories and/or the types of foods they eat. Compulsive exercise, purging, and bingeing can also be characteristics of the disorder.
While anorexia frequently appears during adolescence, children and older adults are also vulnerable. Eating disorders like anorexia can affect anyone regardless of age, gender, race, or sexual orientation, and not everyone struggling with anorexia will look emaciated or underweight.