Patients with eating disorders are being urgently admitted to hospital more than once each week in Sussex.
Figures show that hospitals dealt with emergency cases of food problems, including anorexia and bulimia, 95 times over a one-year period – a rise of almost a third.
Most cases were younger women and teenagers, with some coming in more than once over the year.
Some patients ended up staying in hospital for several weeks, while others were treated and discharged the same day.
The increase is believed to be for various reasons, including greater awareness of the condition and the influence of peer pressure and images in the media.
Specialist treatment and support for people with eating disorders is provided by the Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust.
A spokesman said: “It’s important to remember that these figures relate to the number of admissions and not patients.
“One patient can be admitted multiple times, sometimes for routine tests or treatment.
“The increase in the admissions to acute hospitals of patients suffering from eating disorders is part of a national trend.
“Sussex Partnership set up a dedicated Sussex-wide severe eating disorder consultation and assessment service four years ago.
"This service provides care and support to adults suffering from severe eating disorders, working with patients, their families, local care teams and GPs to prevent their health deteriorating further, which could lead to a hospital admission.
“It has been specifically developed for the needs of the local population and is well regarded in the field as an example of good practice.”
Rebecca Field, from the eating disorder charity Beat, said that the figures were just the tip of the iceberg.
She said: “The figures only show inpatient admissions – we know that the majority of individuals are treated as outpatients within their community as well as in private treatment centres, or worse still, not treated at all.
“Inpatient treatment should be the last resort. Ideally help would be provided much quicker. We know that recovery is possible and the sooner an individual receives the treatment they need the more likely they are to make a full recovery and the less chance that lengthy stays in a specialist inpatient unit are necessary.”
The figures were published by the Health and Social Care Information Centre and cover the period from November 2012 to the end of October 2013.