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Anorexic twins from Australia

December 13th, 2005

Good Morning America recently profiled anorexic 34-year-old twins Clare and Rachel Wallmeyer from Melbourne, Australia. The two twins have had anorexia for twenty years, and weighed a combined total of 106 pounds. (Clare weighed 58 pounds, Rachel weighed 48 pounds.)

In addition to their health problems, the two exhibited significant behavior problems:

Earlier this year, Clare received a two-month jail term for stealing chewing gum, a soft drink and a blender. Rachel received a 21-month suspended jail sentence for driving offenses, theft and for pushing a man who she said insulted her off a railway platform. In 2003, Rachel was involved in a police chase through the city of Geelong when she ran a red light and lost control of her car. She was also charged with injecting heroin in public.

Their story has attracted some media attention in Australia, where they appeared on the local version of “60 Minutes”. They have since obtained some professional help:

“We’re learning that there is a genetic predisposition, but obviously the environment, the culture, is also a major factor,” said Dr. Ira Sacker, an American eating-disorder specialist who flew to Australia to help the twins.

[Sacker] persuaded them to enter a hospital. They were fed through a nasal gastric tube and were hydrated intravenously. They also began to eat a little food and soon got up to 75 pounds — which put them out of immediate danger, Sacker said.

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