Eating disorder in children can cause many problems, which can prove to be dangerous for their health. This also affects their health badly. Having an eating disorder in children is a troubling thing. In the last few years, the cases of eating disorder in children have increased significantly. Although the onset of eating disorders in children is seen in the teenage years, eating disorders can occur in very young children as well. Children as young as seven years of age can also become victims of eating disorders and this disorder is increasing rapidly in young children. It is not clear why young children develop eating disorders. One of the reasons for this can also be that with the development of techniques in the last few years, eating disorders can be detected in children with the help of different tests.
What is an eating disorder in children? (Eating Disorder in children)
If a child is not eating the right amount of food, then he can be surrounded by many problems with increasing age. Children may have to compromise on their height due to not eating properly. It also takes a lot of effort for parents to diagnose an eating disorder in a child. It is difficult for parents to understand whether the child has an eating disorder or is showing food tantrums. Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder is also a form of eating disorder in children.
While parents are not responsible for an eating disorder in children, they can be a positive force in helping their children overcome it. Very young children can be taken out of trouble by their parents.
Symptoms of Eating Disorder in children–
- refuse to eat
- reduction in food portions
- Worrying about your body image
- distance yourself from people
- light body hair
- stash food
- Weight loss in a growing child
- lack of development
- hyperactivity or excessive movement such as leg jiggling, pacing or standing and refusing to sit
- thinning hair on head
- Irregular periods in girls
- personality changes, usually irritability or depression
- get angry when given food
Children can have different symptoms of an eating disorder. Apart from the above mentioned symptoms, your child may also have other symptoms. As a parent, you know your child best. If you notice any change in the behavior of the child, contact your doctor immediately.
What should parents do if they have an eating disorder in children?
If you think your child has an eating disorder:
- Trust your thinking as a parent. If you feel that something is not right after seeing your child, then talk to your child.
- To overcome eating disorder in children, contact a good doctor.
- Don’t blame yourself. It can waste your energy. Parents are not the cause of eating disorders in children.
- Educate yourself: Online blogs, books, forums can help you learn about this problem.
- Don’t underestimate your potential, because you are the one to help your child heal. Eating disorders in children have a detrimental effect on the functioning of your family.
What are the types of eating disorder in children (Type of Eating disorder in children)
- Anorexia is a major type of eating disorder in children. This is a condition in which the child refuses to eat enough calories for fear of getting fat.
- Bulimia is a condition in which a child eats very little food and then binges on food to lose weight or expels the food by using laxatives.
- Binge eating is a condition in which a child eats food but does not chew it properly. Due to which his stomach is filled, but he does not get the nutrition of food.
Eating disorders in children usually develop during the teens or early adulthood. However, this problem can also start in childhood. This makes girls more vulnerable. Only 5% to 15% of people with anorexia or bulimia are men. The number of binge eaters is up to 35% in boys.
Complication of Eating disorder in Kids
Eating disorders in children can lead to serious physical problems and even death. If your child has symptoms of an eating disorder, contact your family doctor immediately. Eating disorders in children cannot be cured just by your wish. Rather, your child will need a doctor’s help to return to a normal weight and eating habits. Many times children have to be introduced to a psychologist for its treatment, because eating disorder in children is caused by their thinking.
What if your children have an Eating Disorder?
- Get help early: Once diagnosed with an eating disorder in children, they are more likely to recover. Talk to your child’s doctor or an eating disorder specialist about this.
- Talk to your child about your concerns: Stay calm and take care of the child. Let them know that you will help them. Let them know how much your child’s health matters to you.
- See a doctor: Treating eating disorders in children takes time and effort. Talk as much as possible with their doctor to help your child.
- Be patient and helpful: Know what you can do to help your child. Try to keep your relationship with your child strong and positive. Take time to listen to your child, talk, and do things you both enjoy.
If you are the parent of a child with an eating disorder, it is important to refer the child to a pediatrician, nutritionist, or mental health professional. By doing this you can support your child and take good care of your child. Having a healthy relationship with food will benefit your child’s whole life. So, if you suspect that your baby might have a problem, talk to your doctor right away.