Anorexia and Bulimia on the Rise Among Children and Adolescents

A review of studies has found that eating disorders are becoming more prevalent among American children and adolescents. The review, conducted by David S. Rosen, MD, MPH, of the University of Michigan Health System, found that approximately 1 out of 200 adolescent girls suffer from anorexia nervosa while between 1 and 2 out of 100 suffers from bulimia. Eating disorders in boys are felt to account for approximately 1 out of 10 total cases, marking a sharp increase in males suffering from these conditions.

An article in Food Consumer reports that eating-disorder hospitalizations for children under 12 increased by 119 percent during the period from 1999 to 2006. Pediatricians are being encouraged to regularly screen patients for anorexia nervosa and bulimia and to intervene when the disorders are diagnosed or suspected.

Signs of anorexia that parents may recognize include excessively counting calories, obsessing about food eaten, eating little, choosing to eat only raw vegetables and sugar-free foods and complaining about being fat despite thinness. Signs of bulimia include going to the bathroom after meals to vomit, persistent bad breath, erosion of tooth enamel, laxative use and diuretic use. Children and adolescents with bulimia may be normal weight, overweight or thin. They may also experience weight fluctuations. Parents who recognize the symptoms of an eating disorder in their child should seek diagnosis and treatment from a pediatrician or psychiatrist.

Source: American Academy of Pediatrics, WebMD
Photo: Pixabay

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