Eating right is the order of the day

it is very important for parents and guardians to recognise the early signs and symptoms of an eating disorder, suggests Dr Atish Laddad

eat

Most people are often under the impression that it is only teenagers or young adults
who fall prey to an eating disorder, but it is a fact that even young children get affected by this. Various studies have indicated that the ratio of eating disorders, witnessed among young girls and boys under the age group of 12 years, has been on the rise. Physical growth and body development is such an imperative aspect of childhood, and eating syndromes can cause noteworthy damage to a child’s body. Thus, hampering his or her growth. Hence it is very important for parents and guardians to recognise the early signs and symptoms of an eating disorder.

What’s an eating disorder?

The exact reason behind what causes eating disorders is still uncertain, but children definitely have an escalated risk of developing one at an early age. Eating disorders can be genetic, which means if a parent, sibling, or someone who is related to the child has an eating ailment, the kid is seven to twelve times more probable to develop the disorder. Additionally, a child identified with long-lasting illness, is also at a higher risk, especially those diagnosed with insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus. Children who fight depression, nervousness, and other psychological illness may also be at an augmented risk. This disorder can also be caused due to an amalgamation of biological, behavioural, and social aspects. For example, youngsters may be prejudiced by cultural images that support bodies that are too underweight to be fit and healthy. Furthermore, many children and teens who have fallen prey to eating disorders often have to deal with one or more of the following glitches like low levels of self-confidence, agony, fear of becoming overweight and feelings of vulnerability.

When should one worry?

To handle these issues, very often children and teens may embrace harmful eating habits. In fact, eating maladies are often connected and go hand-in-hand with other mental difficulties, anxiety disorders, depression and substance abuse. Eating disorders in children and youngsters can lead to a multitude of grave physical difficulties and in adverse cases even death. If you witness symptoms of anorexia, bulimia or binge eating, it is an indication that your child needs immediate medical help.

(The author is founder-director, Docterz)

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