Eating disorders on the rise: What you need to know

Eating disorders on the rise: What you need to know

What causes eating disorders?

Eating disorders usually show up during puberty and in early adulthood, between the ages of 18 and 20.  Although it’s not clear why a child might develop an eating disorder, genetics may play a role. “There may be some people genetically more loaded to get an eating disorder,” O’Brien said. Often times, an anxiety disorder or depression can co-occur with an eating disorder.

Most likely, it’s a perfect storm of genetics, media messages, and the right set of circumstances—poor self-esteem and criticism by others. “You have to be really careful about making comments, particularly to young girls,” O’Brien said. “As they start to go through puberty, it’s a very uncomfortable time for kids.”

Know the warning signs

Think your kid has an eating disorder? Here are some things you should look for:

-Restricting calories, food avoidance, reading labels, changes in diet

-talk about dieting -loss of menstrual periods

-weight is 15 percent below ideal -distorted body image or body critiquing

-purging, use of laxatives, excessive exercise -binging behaviors

-secretive eating

-isolating from family and friends

-scraping and bruising of the finger joints

-yellowing of teeth or dental problems.

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