Adolescence describes the teenage years between 13 and 19 and can be considered the transitional stage from childhood to adulthood. However, the physical and psychological changes that occur in adolescence can start earlier, during the preteen or "tween" years (ages 9 through 12). Adolescence can be a time of both disorientation and discovery.
Disordered eating often (but not always) occurs in affluent cultures, especially in America, where anorexia nervosa (voluntary starvation) and bulimia nervosa (binge-eating followed by purging) now afflict one in ten people.
Most of the diagnosed are young women in their teens and 20s, but the prevalence is increasing among young men each year.