Watch the video. Please. And pass this link along.
This CNN article on kids and eating disorders may be shocking to some of you, but is no surprise to those of us working in the field.
My one complaint is again that the focus is on restrictive ED’s like anorexia and implies that weight loss is the indication of an ED. Children with EDs can be any size. In fact, the most common behaviors I am seeing in very young children, many of whom I would consider to have feeding disorders, are more in the lines of bingeing behaviors. See my post on kids and bingeing.
Take home points:
1) eat with your kids, take any changes seriously
2) don’t weigh your kids (and remember, behavior and attitudes that are unhealthy, even with “normal” weight shouldn’t be ignored)
3) focus on health, not on weight
4) seemingly “healthy” eating, like the girl in the video who eats only low-fat Greek yogurt and strawberries for lunch, may be signs of disordered eating
5) if you suspect a problem, don’t blow it off. Early treatment is critical. Find resources (here is a great list) and get help.
5) ask your schools to address size in diversity and anti-bullying curriculum. Teasing about weight doesn’t make kids healthier, it makes them miserable, more likely to diet, practice disordered eating, and gain weight…
6) Avoid fat is bad, junk food is bad, anti-obesity language
Note, eating disorders are complex disorders with many factors from biological, genetic and environmental playing a role. The above list may help you raise a competent eater. What else can you think of to help raise children to feel good about food and their bodies?