Are you worried that your child is developing an eating disorder? Let’s take a look at preventative measures that parents can take with their children.
According to an article at eatingdisorders.org.au, “Signs of an Eating Disorder in Children”
“Research suggests 20–25 per cent of children affected by eating disorders are boys and there also may be a link between childhood obesity and the development of an eating disorder as an adolescent or adult.
Regardless of age, eating disorders are about underlying emotions, not food. Changes in behavior with food could signal that a child is experiencing emotional, social or developmental issues such as depression, teasing, bullying or abuse. Often the eating disorder develops as a way for a child to feel in control over what’s happening in their life.
Children are influenced by parents and teachers, who play an important role in modelling healthy and balanced attitudes towards food, exercise and body image.
Some important guidelines for parents and teachers include:
- Try not to label foods as ‘good’ or ‘bad’ as this may lead to feelings of guilt and shame when ‘bad’ foods are eaten
- Avoid using food as bribes, punishment or rewards
- Avoid promoting unrealistic or perfectionist ideals in terms of your child’s behavior, grades and achievements, and instead encourage self-acceptance
- Encourage children to celebrate diversity, and not place too much value on physical appearance as a measure of value
- Accept that children are likely to have different eating habits from adults –they may require food more frequently during the day or go through periods of liking or disliking particular foods
- Children learn by example – don’t skip meals, participate in fad diets or enforce diets upon children
- Encourage your child to express their feelings freely and encourage open communication in the home.
- Allow your child to eat when they are hungry and stop when they are full – don’t force them to eat everything on their plate
- Model acceptance of different body shapes and sizes, including your own
- Don’t criticize or tease children about their appearance, or make comparisons to another child’s appearance
- Encourage sport and regular exercise to foster their body confidence. Model a healthy lifestyle yourself by participating in regular exercise for enjoyment and fitness.” To read the entire article click here.
ABC Nutrition Services specialize in eating disorders, such as binge eating, overeating, and much more. To schedule an appointment contact ABC Nutrition Services at 775-329-0505 or visit ABCNutritionServices.com.