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Eating Disorders in Teens: Young Women at Risk

November 29, 2015 01:00 PM
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The holiday season with its easy access to food, sweets, and snacks of all kinds is a though time for teens struggling with body image. A young woman under pressure to look good, lose weight, and wear the right clothes can feel pressured to adopt a fad diet or take diet pills. Extreme diets, coupled with low self-esteem and an inaccurate body image can lead to anorexia, bulimia, or binge eating disorders.

Parents can watch for signs of a developing eating disorder:
    •    Skipping meals of disappearing right after a meal
    •    Eating very little or too much
    •    Excessive exercising or extreme anxiety about weight
    •    Rapid weight loss
    •    Disappearance or sudden irregularity in menstrual cycles

It’s important to remember that there is no single cause of an eating disorder and that good self esteem is crucial to avoiding and/or solving the problem. Eating disorders are treatable, often with a combination of counseling and medication. As parents, being supportive and openly discussing body image in a non-judgmental fashion is a necessary first step.

If you believe your teen is developing an eating disorder, discuss your findings with your child’s primary care provider. In the meantime, keep the lines of communication open with your child and be a role model for good health.

 

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