Eating Disorders In children
It is a disturbing fact that eating disorders in children, such as anorexia, has been diagnosed in children as young as four. The development of Anorexia usually appears during the teen years and affects mostly girls who generally have less body fat than boys. Eating disorders can slow down their growth, puberty, and in girls their breast development.
Children's eating habits, lifestyles, and body image are formed early in life through the attitudes of their parents. When parents have issues with body image and weight gain their children are at higher risk of developing anorexia nervosa because young children like to imitate their parents. Studies have shown that children with anorexic mothers were more depressed, cranky, and had poor attitudes towards food by the tender age of five. However, parents who have open lines of communication and are educated on child development can have an impact on preventing eating disorders in children.
Steps For Making Positive Changes
- Take your child to the family doctor to determine if there is any medical or psychological illnesses.
- Make changes in the family eating habits and expect everyone to participate. This means three healthy meals a day, eat as a family, and provide only healthy snacks. Be a positive role model.
- Never miss any meals.
- Take advantage of spending quality time with your children.
- Become more conscious of your own eating habits, body image, and weight control attitudes.
- Prepare meals with portion control in mind. This will help to eliminate the request to eat their entire meal.
- Refrain from being critical about your child's weight.
- Know how your child responds to your comments about their weight issues and how it affects their behavior.
- Keep the lines of communication open and encourage your child to speak freely about their feelings.
The treatment for eating disorders should start by getting professional help. In the event that it is a family problem getting treatment as a group will greatly increase the success. Family participation makes it easier to adjust to lifestyle changes.
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