Kids Health

If your child's happy, you're happy

How to spot an eating disorder in your child

Filed under: Health and wellbeing — Diane Peters at 11:32 pm on Thursday, May 3, 2012
Could your child have an eating disorder?


Is your child skipping meals? This could be a cause for concern

Eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia amongst children are on the increase.With children as young as five years old being effected, it is important to be on the look out for warning signs in your child .

Sarah Keeton, an eating disorder specialist from  Rhodes Farm treatment centre highlights five warning signs of childhood anorexia to look out for in your child.

 Cutting out snacks: Young children need to eat at regular intervals throughout the day. A child who may be developing an eating disorder will often cut snacks out of their diet altogether, especially if they contain a high fat content.

 Skipping meals and reducing portion sizes:

School lunch is usually the first meal to go. This can be hard for parents to check up on, so if you are worried, it is worth asking teachers to monitor your child. Your child might ask for smaller and smaller portions at mealtimes

 Eliminating different types of food from their diet, one by one:

This may start with a high fat snack like chocolate, then move on to chips, then meat… Slowly but surely the child might be eliminating essential foods, with essential vitamins, from their diet

Becoming overly interested in food and cooking:

Children with an eating disorder often become obsessed with food and will try to learn everything about cooking and food   preparation. They will also go to lengths to ensure everyone else is eating properly, but will neglect themselves.

 “Losing their sparkle”:

Children who are developing an eating disorder may be unusually preoccupied and seem down. They may quite simply, ‘lose their sparkle’ and not seem themselves.

 If your child is displaying the warning signs, but seems not to have lost any weight, therecould still be cause for concern. It’s important to remember that children are growing and should be putting on weight. A child’s weight shouldn’t be stagnate. On average children gain about 2-3 kg (5-7 pounds) per year between the ages of 6- 10 years old.


If you are concerned about your child’s eating habbits, this months Kids Health magazine has more information on eating disorders in children.


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