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What’s Your Kid's Sign?

In a recent article in US News and World Report, that journal reported on the top five signs that your child may have an eating disorder. If you suspect that your child may have a problem, contact a knowledgeable physician or mental health care provider quickly. Remember eating disorders can show up as early as eight years old.
The most important rule for parents – trust your gut. If your instinct tells you something is wrong about your child’s eating or exercising habits, then do something about it.

Here are some signs your child needs help:
1. Gaining or losing weight. In a healthy child, a gain or loss of 5-10 pounds warrants a discussion with a physician. Remember, too, that in this climate, obesity in children is very often targeted as a serious problem, which it is, but it may mean that pediatricians or others may not see weight loss as an issue.

2. Big increase in physical activity. If your child is suddenly dedicated to Wii fit, wanting to play it for hours at a time, or all of a sudden can’t stop the treadmill until she’s run many miles, or has otherwise changed her schedule and routine to accommodate a new obsession with exercise, there might be a problem.

3. Big change in eating habits. Eating habits do change over time, but not often very quickly. If your son or daughter suddenly swears off of all carbs, find out why. Is her newfound commitment to going vegan related to her political beliefs or is it because she thinks meat is fattening?

4. Body image distorted. Most people have grimaced at one point in their lives when they looked in the mirror. But if your child is spending more and more time in front of the mirror and complaining about how fat they are or making other disparaging comments about their body that aren’t even true, then it’s time to intervene.

5. Anxiety. Anxiety is often related to eating disorders and many people find that taking anti-anxiety medication is an effective treatment complement for eating disorders. Increased irritability, inability to sleep, crying, and obsessive thinking are all sign of anxiety that need to be addressed.