Are you concerned about eating disorders in your teenage kid? Read on to understand what factors contribute to eating disorders among teenagers and what strategies you can adopt to prevent them. When you encounter initial symptoms of eating disorders in your child, consult your child’s dietitian and try to inculcate healthy eating habits in them.
Why do eating disorders develop in teenagers?
Eating disorders in teenagers are very serious issues leading to poor health, emotions and affects their ability to function in normal day-to-day life. The most common eating disorders are as follows:
- Anorexia Nervosa
- Bulimia Nervosa
- Binge-eating disorder
The root cause of eating disorders is still unknown but there can be multiple factors that can contribute to this issue. Some of the factors are as follows:
- Genetics: If you have a close relative or first-degree relative with an eating disorder, then there are very high chances that your kid might develop an eating disorder too.
- Lifestyle: Most fast foods contain highly addictive components like sugar that can make your kid more addicted to these foods leading to an eating disorder.
- Emotional Issues: Various psychological and emotional issues like clinical depression and anxiety disorders are directly related to eating disorders.
Consequences and symptoms of eating disorders among teenagers vary, depending on the type of disorder. Poor food choices also affect your teen’s immunity so make sure you add some strong immunity foods to their diet. Observe your kid’s eating patterns and red signals. Some of the early symptoms of eating disorder are:
-Not making expected developmental weight gain
– Extreme weight loss
– Meals skipping
– Persistent complain about their weight
– Using laxatives unnecessarily
– Too much exercise to prevent weight gain
– Eating large quantities at once
– Feeling depressed or guilty about their eating habits
What you can do to prevent eating disorders in your child?
- Inculcate healthy eating habits
Eat together and discuss how a good diet can boost their immunity and their energy levels. Communicate with your kids and encourage them to eat when they feel hungry. In case you are busy parents and cannot spend much time making healthy dinners every day, then you can find out easy dinner recipes for kids over the internet which can be prepared in no time and will be healthy as well.
- Social media image
In today’s world, every teenager has access to various social media channels. Social media channels send unrealistic messages about body image and your child might not be able to differentiate between social media and reality. So it’s better to communicate and set realistic standards.
- Promote healthy body image
Communicate with your teen about self-image and make them understand that healthy body shapes may vary. Discourage them to use any negative nicknames, comments, or jokes about anyone’s physical appearance.
- Promote self-esteem
Be a proactive listener and support your teen’s goals. Encourage their positive qualities and respect their achievements.
- Communicate dangers related to eating disorder
Explain to your teen the dangers behind excessive dieting and how it can affect their health. Remind them that controlling their diet is not a healthy way to manage their emotions.
Here, communication is the key to prevent your teen from developing some serious eating disorders. But before that, make sure you are setting a good example by having a healthy diet by yourself.
Eating disorders need behavioral modifications and a healthy and nutritious diet to follow so you can also take help from a psychologist and a child dietitian. Kanupriya Khanna, a senior consultant Nutritionist & Dietitian is a renowned child dietitian in Delhi with over 15 years of work experience in child nutrition. Taking expert advice can help your kids to overcome some serious eating disorders.