Not only are eating disorders increasing among kids, but they are now more equal opportunity conditions, according to research published in Pediatrics and reported by HealthDay News.

For the report, researchers examined more than 200 recent studies about eating disorders. The conditions cited in the report included the usual suspects, namely anorexia and bulimia, but now data showed that a hybrid, called partial-syndrome, has also emerged.

Partial-syndrome describes kids who exhibit some signs of an eating disorder but not all. In particular, the kids at risk for partial-syndrome include athletes such as gymnasts, wrestlers, dancers and models.

“We are seeing a lot more eating disorders than we used to, and we are seeing it in people we didn’t associate with eating disorders in the past—a lot of boys, little kids, people of color and those with lower socioeconomic backgrounds,” said report author David Rosen, MD, MPH, a professor of pediatrics, internal medicine and psychiatry at the University of Michigan.

Formerly, the stereotypical eating disorder patients were affluent white girls of a certain age, but now boys account for 5 to 10 percent of those with this condition. What’s more some data show that this number could be higher.

While experts don’t know why kids are experiencing such a rise in eating disorders, it comes at a time when the obesity epidemic has exploded.

In response to the obesity epidemic, physicians have started advising young patients about nutrition and weight loss. But if this counseling isn’t done correctly, it could backfire.

“There are lots of kids in my practice who say their eating disorder started when their family doctor told them, ‘You could stand to lose a few pounds,’” Rosen said. “As physicians, we need to make sure our conversations are not inadvertently hurtful or impact their self-esteem.”

But the best bet is to stay alert, researchers said. They advise both parents and doctors to look for signs of eating disorders, such as growth chart changes, very restrictive diets, overexercising, disappearances after meals and use of laxative and diet pills.

And although some feel eating disorders are incurable, there is hope for kids dealing with these conditions, Rosen said. Eating disorders can be cured with treatment and maturity.

Click here to learn how more black girls are battling bulimia.