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How to recognize signs of anorexia in young girls


While eating disorders tend to fully manifest in the teen and young adult years, signs of anorexia may be present in young girls, too.

Parents will be the best line of defense in helping a young girl battle an eating disorder, so it's important to be aware of signs and symptoms that may be present early on.

In noticing and addressing these concerns, you can assist a young girl in getting the help she needs to overcome the problem.

1. Exaggerated body image concerns.

It's normal for children to compare themselves to their peers or people they see in mainstream media, but be on the lookout for an excessive preoccupation with body image. This may manifest as a fear of becoming overweight, an interest in dieting or a desire to simply look different.

2. Other psychiatric problems.

Eating disorders usually go hand-in-hand with other psychiatric issues, so watch out for symptoms of anxiety, depression or behavioral issues that manifest at school or home.

3. Picky eating.

Picky eating is also somewhat common in young children, but it could be indicative of a bigger problem. Pay attention to how much food is actually being consumed, both at school and at home. Strange eating habits, like avoiding meals, eating secretly or strictly monitoring every bite of food may also be signs of anorexia.

4. Physical symptoms.

If anorexic behavior goes on for a while, physical symptoms will likely begin to show - the most obvious being dramatic weight loss. The child may also have more sensitivity to cold, an irregular heartbeat, damage to major organs or thinning of bones.

If you suspect anorexia may be the issue, it's important to seek immediate help to address both the child's physical and psychological health.

Source: Web MD