ArticleDownload Worksheet September 20th, 2012
Childhood Eating Disorders on the Rise
More than 25 million people in the United States — around 1 in 13 — suffer from an eating disorder. While people of all ages are affected, hospitalizations among children 12 and younger have more than doubled over the last decade, according to a study by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.
Researchers don’t have a clear picture of why the number of kids with eating disorders is on the rise, but Dina Zeckhausen of the Eating Disorder Information Network says increased concern about obesity can make kids anxious about their weight. She adds that putting overweight kids on diets can trigger an obsession with food that can lead into an eating disorder. Better options include increased activity and entire families working together to build healthier eating habits.
What is an eating disorder?
An eating disorder is an illness that causes serious disturbances to your everyday diet, such as eating extremely small amounts of food or severely overeating. While people of both genders struggle with eating disorders, girls suffer at much higher rates than boys.
Eating disorders cause extreme emotional distress and unhealthy perceptions regarding food, eating and health.
Anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa and binge eating are the disorders that are most often developed, and are all potentially life-threatening. Anorexia is characterized by self-starvation and extreme weight loss, while bulimia involves binging (over-eating) and self-induced vomiting or the use of laxatives.
Symptoms of an eating disorder include:
- Weight loss, especially sudden or extreme
- Restricting food intake while claiming to eat “healthy”
- Avoiding situations involving food
- Going to the bathroom right after meals
- Sadness or depression, often with social withdrawal
- Wearing baggy clothes to hide weight loss
Parents hiding food can lead to obsessive eating
In an interview with CNN, a young woman going by the pseudonym Sandy Smith spoke about being a rare child suffering from an eating disorder. “I think there was a mixture of … intentionally restricting my food and then going to try to find the food my parents were hiding,” she explains. “Even in childhood, it became sort of obsessive.”
Although Sandy speaks out about her experiences as a child, she still struggles with her disorder today. She advises children to seek help, saying, “There are people out there, even if they aren’t in [your] direct surroundings, who are filled with compassion and want to help.”
Many 10-year-old girls on diets
The Keep It Real campaign conducted a study that found 80 percent of all 10-year-old girls have already dieted at least once in their lives.
Children who are experiencing troubles such as bullying, abuse or a divorce sometimes seek to find a way to take control of some aspect of their lives and find that restricting their eating habits is the easiest way to do that.
Getting treatment early is key, as failure to get proper nutrition can affect a child’s growth and development for the rest of their lives.
Dr. Wendy Lebolt, a coach and physiologist who recently addressed the topic in a column onSoccerwire, an online newsletter and community for soccer parents, writes that many kids with eating disorders appear healthy and high-achieving.
Lauren, a young friend of Dr. Lebolt, was an athletic teenager who worked part-time three to four days per week while maintaining a 4.0 GPA. Now on the road to recovery from an eating disorder, she has this advice: “Please, if you know of someone who has an eating disorder, encourage them to get help. Don’t sit back and wait. It is an illness and nothing to be ashamed of, and you could save his/her life.”
–Compiled by Ja’anai Delaney for NewsHour Extra
Submit Your Student Voice
Tooltip of RSS content 3
Hillary Clinton’s long time in the political spotlight
While Clinton has topped the annual Gallup poll of “most admired woman” each of the last 14 years, a CBS poll last month showed nearly two-thirds of Americans say they don’t think she is honest or trustworthy. Continue readingDemocratic PartyElection 2016feminismFirst LadyHillary ClintonSecretary of State
Donald Trump’s early years from trouble-making teen to military school star
Born and raised in Queens, New York, to a family of privilege, Donald Trump grew up in a 23-room house and was driven to private school by the family chauffeur. Continue readingbiographyDonald TrumpElection 2016presidential raceSocial Studies
Trump picks Indiana Governor Mike Pence as running mate
Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump chose Indiana Gov. Mike Pence as his vice president, despite the two disagreeing on a number of political and social issues. Pence has served as governor of Indiana since 2012, and a member of the U.S. House of Representatives for 12 years. Continue readingDonald TrumpElection 2016issuesMike Pencenominationrepublican national conventionRepublican PartyRNCVice President
Election 2016 challenges civics teachers
The 2016 presidential race has made teaching high school civics more difficult, particularly regarding some of the comments students have heard candidates make along the campaign trail. Continue readingCampaignCivicsDonald TrumpeducationElection 2016GovernmentHillary ClintonPresidencysocial mediaSocial Studies
5 things to know for the 100 year anniversary of the National Park Service
On August 25, 2016 the National Park Service will celebrate its 100th birthday. Learn about national parks and the NPS as the centennial approaches. Continue reading#FindYourParkNational Park Servicenational parks