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Eating Disorders in Children and Teens

Written by
Dr. Krystel Quadros
and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team.

Published on Dec 10, 2018   -  2 min read

Abstract

Eating disorders have become very prevalent in children and teens and it is now a topic of concern for many parents due to a variety of reasons. One of the most common reasons for following faulty eating habits is due to the media. Teens want to look like their favorite actor or actress. According to various research studies, eating disorders are more prevalent in females than males.

Eating Disorders in Children and Teens

Following are some of the common eating disorders.

Anorexia Nervosa

In anorexia nervosa, the child or teen is underweight but still has a feeling that he/she is fat and might, therefore, starve themselves for an extended period. This is also accompanied with emotional problems like anxiety or depression. They might give different excuses for not eating. Children with anorexia might want to look like a model or an actress and feel that their figure is not up to the standard. It is therefore very important for parents of these children to have good communication with their child telling them about the health hazards of not eating food for a long time. It is essential for these parents to educate their child about consuming a balanced diet as every nutrient plays a very important role in keeping us healthy. It is very important for parents themselves to act as role models for their kids by themselves following a healthy diet and not following fad diets like fruit diet or salad diet as children tend to feel conscious about their bodies too looking at their parents. So do be a role model!

Bulimia Nervosa

In the case of bulimia nervosa, the child may be of a normal weight or overweight. He might eat a large quantity of food and then later feel guilty about it and purge. According to various studies, this regular purging behavior might lead them to develop dental caries due to regular exposure to hydrochloric acid in the mouth which disrupts the enamel.

Parents should thus encourage their children to have nutritious and balanced meals on time so that they are not deprived of the essential nutrients needed for their growth and development. They can inculcate this habit in their kids by having a family meal together as it brings an emotional bonding between parents and children. At the same time, they can monitor their eating pattern and provide emotional support rather than yelling at their kids. This is very essential to boost their confidence and prevent self-esteem issues.

Binge Eating

In case of binge-eating, the child might overeat a very high-calorie meal maybe 3000 calories at a stretch within a short span of time. The child might not have control over what he is actually consuming. He might have three burgers, two pizzas and a plate full of pasta with a lot of cheese toppings over it and still feel like consuming a soft drink. The child does this to overcome social isolation. Parents must, in this case, counsel the child well to boost the child’s self-esteem and teach them leadership skills. Consulting a nutritionist is of utmost importance in this case as the nutritionist might be able to counsel the child well on the health hazards of binge eating as well as plan an appropriate diet according to the calories needed by the child.

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Last reviewed at:
10 Dec 2018  -  2 min read

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