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
-isolating from family and friends
-scraping and bruising of the finger joints
-yellowing of teeth or dental problems.