Body image and eating disorders in young children

When this issue of body image and eating disorders is brought to someone's attention, more times than not the idea of a self-conscious, slim adolescent girl involves mind. However, reviews show that children are exhibiting indications of reduced impressions of their own body and the existence of eating disorders are increasing at a young age group (Mehlenbeck, 2007). Hardly any is well known about the commonness of eating disorders in pre-pubertal kids. However, eating disorder specialists and programs in the United States are reporting an increase in small children who need improve related eating problems. The challenge with body dissatisfaction is causing an increase in disordered eating and weight reduction in young children. "Recent studies show that 42 %of first-, second- and third-grade women want to be thinner; that 40 % of almost 500 fourth-graders surveyed said they diet "frequently" or "sometimes"; and that 46 percent of 9-year-olds and 81 percent of 10-year-olds admit to dieting, binge eating or concern with getting unwanted fat" (DeLeel, Hughes, Miller, Hipwell, & Theodore, 2009). Also, it has been reported that as early as age four and five that children are expressing the need to diet. It has been said the recent increase in children growing eating disorders may derive from the family environment combined with the message society gives about the importance of being skinny.

There are two types of eating disorders which can be noted as being used to regulate food intake and cause extreme weight reduction, Anorexia Nervosa and Bulimia. "Anorexia is a problem when a child refuses to eat adequate calorie consumption out associated with an powerful and irrational concern with becoming extra fat" (Mehlenbeck, 2007). "Bulimia is a condition in which a child binge eats and then purges the food by vomiting or using laxatives to prevent putting on weight" (Mehlenbeck, 2007). Diagnosing a kid with an eating disorder is difficult at first because children seldom fit the DSM-IV requirements. "The DSM-IV requirements for Anorexia Nervosa include

Refusal to maintain body weight at or above a minimally normal weight for age and level or failure to make expected putting on weight.

Fear of getting weight

Body image distortion or undue affect of body shape on self-evaluation.

For post-pubertal women, amenorrhea (lack of menstruation) "(American Psychiatric Connection, 2000).

This criterion is hard for specialists and doctors to identification school older children for most reasons. The first reason is the consistent development spurts in both level and weight that pre-pubertal children show during this time period in their life. Therefore, it is hard to evaluate an expected weight for a child at this years because all children are different. Children who do not gain weight around this age group, but do develop in height are not always a goal for an eating disorder. This is the get older which children are incredibly active and take part in sports which may be the key reason why they do not gain weight (Mehlenbeck, 2007).

The second and third diagnostic standards present a problem when coping with young children because they have a hard time expressing fear of putting on weight, body image distortion or the affect the shape of their body has on their self-evaluation (Mehlenbeck, 2007). Also, in young children the loss of menstruation does not come into play because many young ladies have not reached puberty. Therefore, diagnosing an eating disorder has become complicated for experts.

In addition to the problems with the diagnostic requirements from the DSM-IV, specialists and health professionals are not sufficiently trained to consider eating disorders in children. Issues with eating focus on picky eaters and issues of slow-moving weight gain predicated on the stage of development for youngsters. Physicians rarely consider that a child who is not eating may be associated with a challenge with body dissatisfaction (Truby & Paxton, 2002). It is more common to associate eating problems with the notion that the kid is a picky eater somewhat than with them having an eating disorder.

Mehlenbeck discusses a particular case where an 11 time old boy known as Tim exhibits signs or symptoms of an eating disorder in order to attempt to lose weight to enter shape for a sports activities team. His yearly physicals seemed to be fine, although at his 10 calendar year old checkup, his medical professional pointed out that he slowly possessed dropped a tiny amount of weight, but was not concerned. However, for his 11 yr old check up, it was reported that he previously fell below the 5th percentile BMI for his years and his heart rate had dramatically increased. His mother reported that he was always wintry, irritable and seldom ate with the family. He rejected using a weight focused problem but did say that that he found he cannot play as well as he use to and that he presumed that it was based on a slight weight gain. He was accepted inpatient to re-feeding also to address his medical condition. He was nutritionally and clinically monitored at all times. His family utilized techniques that they learned in family founded remedy. Tim's 500-calorie a day diet have been referred to as a source of comfort for him. Through the long process of therapy, Tim could rejoin the family in time and able to return to a healthy diet, although he was supervised continuously (Mehlenbeck, 2007). Tim's diet offered him comfort since it allowed him to believe that he previously control over his performance on the courtroom by monitoring his food intake. It was comforting to him that he assumed he was actively bettering his game by controlling what he placed into his body.

Tim's case is just one example of a young child who is exhibiting eating problems. A study done on atypical eating in small children, however, associated bizarre eating conducts and low weight in young children to an array of "critical familial psychosocial problems" (Jaffe & Performer 1989). This study centered on 8 pre-pubertal patients and uncovered that all child had a substantial associated psychopathology, which required treatment after discharge. They all refused to eat normal amounts of food and struggled with family about eating and weight gain. However, none exhibited a distorted body image or fear of fatness. This review believed that eating disorders may in simple fact be more common in children than ever before thought of before hand, however they may be associated with family or interpersonal discord (Jaffe & Singer 1989).

Children elevated in a dysfunctional family are in higher risk for growing an eating disorder. A family life where there is physical or erotic abuse may bring about a child embracing an eating disorder to get a sense of control. Eating disorders are a child's therapy. They help them offer with thoughts and are especially widespread in children who had been increased in a home that didn't allow emotions to be indicated. Research also implies that children are at a high risk for growing an eating disorder if their parents are preoccupied with appearance and weight. If parents (or siblings) are constantly diet and expressing dislike towards their own physiques, the kid will receive the note that appearance is the main thing to be concerned about (Jaffe & Performer, 1989).

Society and the press also sends the message that being thin is the main and necessary thing there is certainly. Children face more at more youthful ages, therefore the media's information are influencing children during important developmental periods. Children have been constantly bombarded with stimuli from their environment telling them they have to be thin. Regrettably, it is having aversive impacts on children and their image of themselves.

Reports have shown that 80% of young ladies in marks 3 - 6 have bad emotions about their systems (Kalish, 2004). This issue of body dissatisfaction diverts the young child's attention way from assignment work and from interpersonal connections with peers. Preteen boys also worry about how exactly their build compares with others. They are really focused on sports activities and with the muscular men they see on television and also have been conditioned to believe that muscles tend to be more important than what's inside.

"Thinking that outward appearance is a reflection of inner quality, children with body image concerns create a sense of who they are and how they should respond by internalizing messages about themselves from others" (Kalish, 2004). Children missing self-esteem and who seek popularity and approval are particularly very sensitive and vunerable to the perceptions of parents, family, peers and the mass media. Body image concerns may be precursors to eating disorders. Even though they do not lead to scientific disease, however, they are entitled to attention therefore the child can figure out how to enjoy a healthful romance with food (Kalish, 2004).

With that said, it's important to be observant of an atypical eating style in a kid as early as possible. Symptoms such as ritualized eating, significant weight loss, and food restriction do not necessarily, but can result in "early onset anorexia" (Jaffe & Performer, 1989). Other factors including social interactions as well as family steadiness should be taken into account. It's important for parents and members of the family to be aware of signs or symptoms such as constantly missing dinner or driving food around on the plate. The consequences of early onset anorexia include "bradycardia and orthostasis, possibly leading to center inability" (Jaffe & Singer, 1989). Children also experience muscle damage, dry wild hair and pores and skin and gastrointestinal problems. Long-term difficulties include stunted expansion, bone density damage, problems in bone development, and a delay in puberty. Symptoms to look for anticipated to malnutrition in a child include disposition swings, lethargy, increased self-isolation and an obsession with food and/or exercise. Once these issues are found and taken significantly, they can be reversed once a proper exercise and diet regiment is put together (Jaffe & Singer, 1989).

The problem however is that treating a kid with an eating disorder is very different than treating a teenager. It is because treating a teenager who has an eating disorder requires the parent to be removed from the equation. However, a lot of eating problems in children stem from problems which might occur within the home, so family founded therapy is suggested. While using the same treatment strategy on a child that is utilized on a teenager can be harmful as a result of difference in developmental level. A good example of this is shown by Mehlenbeck of the 7 time- old young lady who was simply isolated from her parents. Casey was admitted inpatient for an eating disorder. She was allowed contact with her parents for only 1 hour per night time if she could complete all her dishes. When she was discharged to every day treatment program, Casey developed significant anxiety and was experienced nightmares. She also became in physical form violent toward her mother. Her isolation from her parents created new doubts of abandonment (Mehlenbeck, 2007). Because of this exact reason, family-based treatment has become the selected plan of action to help children with eating disorders.

Dr. Shu, a pediatrician from Atlanta, says Health and Wellness magazine that there are ways to reduce a child's concerns about getting weight. As a child gets older, could it be typical that they can become increasingly alert to how their bodies compare to those of their friends, young adults, parents that they see around them or even the information in the press. Parents are urged to start at a age group by clarifying the concerns that a young child may be expressing about their body. Dr. Shu mentions that it's possible that the kid is buying a little reassurance they are correctly normal (Shu, 2007). This opportunity should be used to teach children that folks have different body types which being healthy is what's most important.

Dr. Shu further mentions that a parent should focus on their child's talents and the positives that their body can do. Instances to say would be sports activities, dancing or imaginative capabilities (Shu, 2007). It is also important for a father or mother to encourage the kid to eat well balanced meals and to exercise regularly. It ought to be something which is discussed frequently. Also, it is vital to mention concerns a kid may have about weight with the family pediatrician. The doctor can asses the child's level and weight and inform parents where the child stands relatively with other children of the gender and years.

Parents need to set an example for his or her children. Children learn by what they observe. If they are observing a wholesome environment which is not centered on a negative body image with an focus on dieting, they will be more likely to follow the model set in place for them. An eating disorder is an extremely serious problem and must be treated as soon as possible. It is important, as mentioned previous to have treatment which include the family. It is because the child's eating disorder may be based on a challenge which is profound seeded with in the family dynamics and also as a result of child's age. It is the initial method of any issue with body image or eating disorder which is vital for a person to recuperate and develop a positive marriage with themselves and with food.

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