According to experts, childhood eating disorders do not usually take place until and unless the child is suffering from serious weight issues. But, thinness portrayed by media as a healthy option can have serious effects on the overall health of the children.
Majority of children refuse to eat which is a common thing among children. The childhood eating disorders can result from the combination of social, behavioral and biological factors. Children of present days are often faced with different problems like distress, feeling of helplessness, low self esteem and fear of becoming overweight. In order to cope with such issues children often adopt unhealthy eating habits. The eating disorders adopted by children can lead them towards different types of physical problems and in some cases, death.
The symptoms of childhood eating disorders generally depend on the eating disorder type. If the child develops an unhealthy image mentally and gets the feeling that the best way to deal with this situation is through food refusal, chances of anorexia nervosa development increases significantly. Obsession regarding unhealthy eating ways starts settling in and the amount of food consumed usually tends to be of extremely small proportion. They start exercising for hours which gives them the feeling that people will find them attracting and charming.
The condition of bulimia can be considered an opposite case of anorexia nervosa where the child starts to consume as much food as possible in a short time period. In such type of childhood eating disorders, the child generally feels guilty after consumption of the food and takes laxatives or induces vomiting to get rid of it. The condition is most prevalent among females suffering from serious depression or self-esteem issues.
There are different types of risk factors associated with childhood eating disorders some of which are given below:
- Age – Even though eating disorders can happen to anyone but it is more prevalent among teenagers and people in their early 20’s.
- Being Female – Young women and teenage girls have greater chances of developing eating disorders than young men and teenage boys.
- Emotional Disorders – People with obsessive compulsive disorder, anxiety and depression have greater chances of developing eating disorders.
- Family History – Although this might sound strange but people with eating disorders in their family are much more susceptible towards developing eating disorders.
The basic way to treat childhood eating disorders is through medication, nutrition education and psychotherapy. With the help of psychotherapy, the child finds new ways to deal with stress and depression. The cognitive behavioral therapy is generally used for children suffering from eating disorders. Nutrition education has proven to be quite effective for children who have developed unhealthy eating habits.
The health care providers offer useful information about healthy diet plan that helps in maintaining a healthy body and mind and also helps in avoiding some unwanted childhood eating disorders. Although, medications cannot stop eating disorders but they assist the child in controlling the urges to purge or binge and even managing excessive preoccupations with diet and food.