Eating Disorders: How Young is Too Young - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

4/12/05

Eating Disorders: How Young is Too Young

Children as young as seven years old have been diagnosed with Anorexia Nervosa. This is one of a number of eating disorders. Others include Bulimia and overeating or binging. In a time when we are concerned that obesity has become an epidemic, we have to keep in mind that anorexia stills poses a real problem, especially for young women.

There appears to be a genetic link in anorexia. It seems to run in families. People with eating disorders tend to be perfectionists.  Another basic problem for people is self esteem. To insulate our children against an eating disorder, we should make sure that they have a good sense of self.

But the media and other children can set up situations that seem frightening. A very young child becomes focused on small imperfections in their body-a tummy that protrudes, a layer of 'normal' young body fat. It can be worrisome.

For the very young child, eating a very restricted variety of food can be normal.
If your child is not loosing weight and appears healthy in other respects, just treat this as a 'phase' while continuing to offer a nutritious diet.

Make sure that the child is not consuming too much fruit drink. Sugary fruit drinks can also interfere with children getting enough milk in their diet.

Making meal time pleasant helps to associate good food with good nutrition. Offer a wide variety of nutritious food and allow the child to select what they like. It gives you and them a sense of control. You know they are getting healthy foods without nagging about diet.

Monitor why your child is focused on his or her imperfections. What is your attitude toward your body? Are they picking up negative messages from you? If you trying to loose weight and your very young child sees you as perfect, it is a mixed and confusing message for them.

Picky eaters always pose a problem for parents. Be careful not overemphasize it and blow it out of proportion. If their height and weight are within normal range at the doctor's office, you probably do not need to worry. They will probably out grow this phase, too.

To help you over this rough spot in parenting, go on line to the following sites. You will find terrific information on nutrition and great suggestions for nutritious meals and snacks.        

For more nutritional information online: 
American Dietetic Association
Keep Kids Healthy
additional links 

 

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