Kerryn Boogaard Kerryn Boogaard
Beverly Goldsmith Beverly Goldsmith
Zoe Bingley-Pullin Zoe Bingley-Pullin

How to spot early eating disorder symptoms:

While anorexia, bulimia and binge eating disorders often surface during adolescence, girls (and boys) can show signs of trouble much earlier
Date: April 23 2012
Editor Rating:

"Catching these problems quickly can prevent a lifelong struggle," says Jill Layne, a licensed clinical social worker with Children's Hospital of the King's Daughters in Norfolk, Virginia.

Some red flags:

The child is obsessed with weight. They might voice an intense fear of gaining weight, comment about feeling fat when they're a normal size or, if they're overweight, become fixated on that fact.

The child sneaks or hoards food. You might find discarded wrappers in their room or notice they're ashamed of what they've eaten.

The child makes excuses for not eating. Common lines: they had a big lunch or ate right before coming home. They seem to prefer eating alone.

The child's eating and exercise habits become extreme. A child might refuse anything but very low-calorie options - which can alternate with binges on favorite "bad" foods - and constantly try to burn off calories: running in front of the television, say, or going for a jog after a long sports practice.

The child's appearance starts to change. A child may or may not lose weight. If they're not getting enough calories, their hair and skin will dry out and their energy levels will fall.

The child follows "rituals" at meals. Anorexics might cut food into tiny pieces or keep different items from touching each other. Bulimics will go to the bathroom immediately after meals to purge.

What to do: Reassure a child they're beautiful - never belittle them or their behaviour - and ask why they're feeling insecure. Brainstorm ways to live healthfully without banning any particular foods: a weekly dessert night instead of a regular supply of sweets, maybe, or family walks after dinner. Educate them on good food choices and how to follow hunger cues. Help them find ways to be successful, whether through sports or the arts, and nurture their friendships. Schedule a checkup with a pediatrician and, if symptoms continue, seek counseling.

Share This Tweet This Email To Friend
Recent Comments
2 Total Comments
Jenny says: 2012 04 23

I do worry about eating disorders and pressure to look a certain way. I caught myself the other day commenting on how my little girl eats lots (in a good way) and it dawned on me that she’ll start to notice my comments like that, and the last thing I want to do is have a negative effect. She’s beautiful.

Robert Lang says: 2019 10 30

I will absolutely see that you simply area system companion effective in your room I exist an online website swiftly, besides as your nuances will be appallingly valuable for me. a few much needed for the majority of your guide besides as in addition calling for all of you the success in your association. get more info

View All Comments
Post a Comment
* your email address will not appear

Please enter the word you see in the image below:

Post a Comment
* your email address will not appear

Please enter the word you see in the image below:33343

Your Comment has been posted
Related Articles
Choice does sums with imminent changes to private health rules
Read more
Only four per cent of Australian women view having a…
Read more
A survey of 400 Australian parents of 14-17 year olds…
Read more
Cry babies

Dry your eyes!
The newest additions are on their way from the Babies who cry real tears!


Latest Tech Used In Shipping Containers
Read how the shipping industry has revolutionised

Motherpedia cover-2

Win 1 set of a 4-book hardcover illustrated boxed set
Barbara Murray’s new 4-book Sound Stories is perfect for parents and educators and could assist with NAPLAN results

Motherpedia cover (4)

Where to celebrate Oktoberfest Australia
Get ready for this celebration!

Motherpedia cover-4

A Fortnight of Foodie Experiences at East Village
A taste of East Village. What's in it for me?

Globber my too fix up cover

We Try: Globber My TOO Fix Up
A scooter that grows with your child

Throw a winning cricket pitch

3 Steps to a Winning Backyard Cricket Pitch
Ex-Adelaide Oval legend curator Les Burdett shares his tips for getting your backyard cricket pitch test match ready this summer

A bike that follows your kids life cycle - motherpedia - cover

A Bike That Follows Your Kids Life Cycle
Check out the Bunzi 2-in-1 gradual balance bike!

Moonlight lifestyle

Moonlight Cinema to bring…
Moonlight Cinema announces brand new Western Sydney venue

Screen shot 2019-11-26 at 8.29.12 am

Your Magical Christmas Wonderland…
Adventure park is about to light up the night sky with its "Christmas Festival of Lights"

Screen shot 2019-11-21 at 11.11.36 am

The Preston Market Gets…
It's time to feel pumped up for the holiday season!


Bunnings team members get…
Help raise funds by buying a snag or donating at your local store.