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updated 11/29/2010 8:59:18 AM ET 2010-11-29T13:59:18

A new report on eating disorders cites data showing a sharp increase in children's hospitalizations for such problems.

Among children younger than 12 with eating disorders, hospitalizations surged 119 percent between 1999 and 2006. That's according to government data contained in an American Academy of Pediatrics report released online Monday.

The federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality released data last year showing that hospital stays for the disorders increased 15 percent during the seven-year period. The biggest increase was in the youngest patients.

The academy advises pediatricians to do routine screening and refer affected children to specialized treatment. It says doctors can help prevent eating disorders by stressing proper nutrition and exercise to avoid an unhealthy focus on weight and dieting.

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