Schools should try to tackle the issue of eating disorders among their pupils head on, says a healthcare charity.
Jane Smith, of Anorexia and Bulimia Care, said education staff are often too "frightened" to face up to the issue.
"Traditionally, a lot of schools try to bury their head in the sand about eating disorders," she noted.
She pointed to recent research carried out by the charity, which found that the idea of their children developing anorexia or bulimia is one of parents' greatest fears.
"As far as treatment [for eating disorders] is concerned, our experience is that it can be patchy," added Ms Smith.
Her comments follow the release of a new survey, which revealed 58 per cent of girls in year ten want to lose weight.
Conducted by the Schools Health Education Unit, the poll also found 22 per cent of 14 and 15-year-old girls skipped lunch.
Written by Tim Colman