Monday, 24 November 2014 10:21

Eating Disorders in Young Children

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Although we usually associate eating disorders with teenagers and young adults, new research indicates that children as young as 8 can begin to develop symptoms of a disorder.

An eating disorder is defined as an illness that causes serious disturbances to your everyday diet, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. Eating extremely small amounts of food and severely overeating and both considered eating disorders.

Researchers are increasingly finding these types of disorders arise from a combination of interactions between genetic, biological, behavioral, psychological and social factors. This most recent research focused on the psychological, socio-demographic and physiological characteristics of 215 children between the ages of 8 to 12, who already had eating problems (add where the study was conducted). Those children with physical issues that could contribute to the eating disorder, such as diabetes and cystic fibrosis, were excluded.

The study revealed that 95 percent of the children exhibited restrictive eating behaviors, almost 70 percent were afraid of putting on weight, and 46.6 percent considered themselves “fat.”

Professor Meilleur, the lead researcher for this study, explained “These behaviors reflect the clinical presentations we observe in adolescents and support findings that body image is a preoccupation for some children as early as elementary school.”

While the results are concerning, 15.5 percent of the children also admitted to occasionally making themselves throw up, and boys faced the same eating disorder troubles as girls. Professor Meilleur reminds us that these findings “may help clinicians reach a diagnosis earlier by enabling them to investigate these aspects."

Read 990 times Last modified on Monday, 24 November 2014 10:23
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