5 things parents should know about eating disorders
Dr. Sara Forman, director of Boston Children’s Hospital’s Outpatient Eating Disorders Program and Dr. Tracy Richmond, director of the PREP weight management program in Adolescent Medicine, share five things parents should know about eating disorders. Kids don’t have to be really thin to have an eating disorder. Not everyone with an eating disorder looks like he or she has an eating disorder. The condition is often hidden in secret habits or obsessions. For example, binge eating and bulimia — or binging and purging — are common eating disorders not necessarily associated with thinness. Eating disorders can affect anyone. Boys and girls of all races/ethnicities and socioeconomic groups develop eating disorders. “We are seeing younger and younger kids. We see patients as young as nine, ten years old,” says Forman. “There is a lot of focus in schools today on performance: academic performance, athletic achievement … there’s a lot of ‘body talk.’” Eating disorders, particularly anorexia nervosa, are the most deadly mental health condition. Anorexia nervosa has an estimated mortality rate of 10 percent over a lifetime. While some patients die of metabolic complications of the disease, many commit suicide. The risk of suicide is much higher in females with eating disorders than in females who don’t have a...
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