Anorexia Nervosa in Children

If your child suffers from uncontrollable dieting, and if he or she craves for food almost without ceasing, perhaps your child suffers from anorexia nervosa. Simply known as anorexia, this condition is a type of eating and psychological disorder characterized by low body weight and distorted body image because of intense psychological fear of gaining weight. It is a form of self-starvation or restrictive eating in which the person’s built is almost less than 85 percent of normal weight for height and age.

Anorexia is the third most common chronic diseases in the United States mostly affecting females at 95% of its cases as it increased over the past two decades. This condition usually occurs during young adulthood. Young persons, girls in particular, are firstly seen with irregular eating habits, usually they eat less. Anorexics usually exercise too much but actually, they already have weak and unhealthy bodies because of poor diet. Anorexics also have low self-esteem. (Blinder 2010:1) Anorexia is a serious illness and can be fatal if not diagnosed and treated in its early stage. Anorexics may diet, binge and vomit in the same day.

It leads to starvation as the muscles become weak and organs are damage and exerting low level of energy. Weight loss puts a young girl at risk since the condition leads to abnormal or even loss of menstrual period. Other complications or risk of weight loss are infertility and weak bones or osteoporosis. What makes anorexia even more dangerous is its emotional and social effects in which a child refrains from doing regular chores and becomes excessively worried of failing. He or she often becomes sad and depress resulting to skipping school or sometimes, become obsessed in it. (Costin 1995:6)

Some facts about who are at risk of anorexia are enumerated by Abigail Natenshon (2006). In 2006, anorexia has inflicted around 11 million victims in America in which individuals below the age of 20 garnered the highest level at 87%. The condition usually targets young female, although in the past decades, the number of male anorexics is doubled. Children as young as age 5 are now being reported to suffer from anorexia. Children born with anorexia perhaps had themselves developed the disease through inheritance and may be caused by the merging of environmental factors in an environment of physiological weakness.

Environmental factors also may include the influence of peers and the media, childhood abuse, as well as patterns of communication and problem solving in the family. Healthy family does not mean the condition could not penetrate within. Families do not cause eating disorders but when parents instill in their children to recognize and respond to their feelings in productive ways, these skills will eliminate eating disorder and aide in facilitating a more expedient cure even to an inflicted child by genetics.

Also, a child’s eating lifestyle has a great influence on whether or not a person may become a victim of abnormal or dysfunctional eating habits and the worst, obesity later in their adult life. What are the early warning signs of anorexia? From simple abnormality in a child’s eating behavior, it is important to know deeper of the symptoms of the disorder. A young girl’s eagerness to lose weight must be monitored closely, even among young women. Usually, most doctors warn young women of the danger of weight loss diets.

They mostly advise eating healthy meals and regular exercise. If your daughter starts to not eat regular meals and show evidences of rapid weight drops, she is starting to suffer from anorexia. Irregular eating habits may start to develop an eating disorder – your daughter starts to avoid more foods, especially dairy foods like cheese and milk. There is also an urge to vomit after every meal in an attempt to lose weight. Other signs include secret and repetitive exercise, wearing fitting clothes to hide their weight loss. (Striegel-Moore 1995:18)

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