Video: How Can I Tell if My Child Has an Eating Disorder?
Hi welcome to Children's Mom Docs I'm Dr. Sarah Garwood, pediatrician at St. Louis Children's Hospital and I work in adolescent medicine. And today we're going to talk about eating disorders. You may have wondered how could I tell my child has an eating disorder or what puts kids at risks at risk for eating disorders. We don't know exactly what causes an eating disorder, but it seems to be multiple different factors both genetic and environmental that contribute to people being at risk. Some of the signs that your child might be developing an eating disorder would be if you notice a sudden change in eating habits. Like your child who used to eat hamburgers for every meal is now suddenly a vegetarian.
Or if they're cutting out whole food groups like they won't eat red meat so they won't eat desserts or they're avoiding carbohydrates altogether that might be a red flag. For a younger child if they're failing to meet expected growth parameters like gains in height that you would have predicted for their age or if they seem to be growth stunted that can sometimes be a clue. Some adolescents will follow rigid rules about eating or they'll become obsessed with food. They may prepare large meals, but then actually not engage in those meals themselves. If you're concerned about binge eating or bulimia, those adolescents may you may see signs that they have purged or you they may actually hoard food or you'll find large quantities of food have gone missing. So how can you prevent your child from having an eating disorder? There's no clear prevention strategy that people can use, but you can try to encourage a healthy environment in your home. One of the ways you can do this is by avoiding weight talk yourself.
So don't weigh yourself frequently. Don't talk about your weight. Don't talk about being on a diet. You can encourage children to be healthy and be strong to focus on what their bodies can do and how they feel what they say and not on how they look. If you suspect that your child has an eating disorder it's important that you seek help sooner than later. We know that early intervention tends to help kids do better and have a better prognosis than if you let these things continue without intervention. You can talk to your pediatrician. Even a school counselor sometimes can be a resource. Although eating disorders can affect any child, girls do tend to develop eating disorders a little bit more frequently than boys. Adolescence is a common time it's actually the peak time for development of eating disorders, but we do sometimes see even younger kids starting to develop those habits and having body-image disturbance or overly are being overly concerned with their body image or their body size and shape.
Sports that emphasize judging such as gymnastics or figure skating do sometimes place kids at higher risk for having body-image concerns and ultimately developing eating disorders. If you're concerned that your child has or is developing an eating disorder, learn more about the signs and symptoms of eating disorders. Contact the family resource center at St. Louis Children's Hospital or ask your pediatrician for more advice thanks for watching and be sure to check out other videos on our channel..