- Posted August 7, 2013 by
Ways to Know Eating Disorders in Boys
While the majority of people affected by eating disorders are women and girls, research shows a growing number of boys with eating disorders, especially when looking at a younger age bracket. For children under the age of 12, hospitalization as a result of an eating disorder rose 119 percent with almost equal numbers of boys and girls. Here are some steps to better understanding and detecting eating disorders in boys and the web is always available for healthy food recipes and diet tips.
Familiarize yourself with eating disorder definitions. Common eating disorders include anorexia, bulimia and binge eating, though sometimes an individual can display a mix of symptoms that don’t necessarily fit into one category. Here is a short overview of the three disorders:
- Anorexia: This is characterized by a dramatic decrease in food intake in order to lose weight. However, even after dropping significant weight, an individual with anorexia will still see themselves as fat and continue trying to lose weight beyond what is healthy. Fasting and dieting is often coupled with compulsive exercising and constantly checking one’s weight.
- Bulimia: This most often involves eating large portions of food, sometimes beyond feeling full or satisfied, and then purging by self-induced vomiting, laxatives, fasting or excessive exercise. There is a serious fear of gaining weight and a preoccupation with food.
- Binge Eating: This is marked by episodes of binge eating or overeating, but without the purging involved with bulimia. Food is eaten faster than normal and large amounts will be consumed even if the person does not feel hungry. Hoarding and hiding food may also occur. Bing eating is usually triggered by emotions and used to numb or control those emotions.
Be aware of teasing. For children, being the target of teasing can be a great social concern and it is a possible trigger for an eating disorder. Stay engaged in a child’s life to know if any teasing is taking place and help them deal with any insecurities or worries caused by teasing.
Watch for an obsession with health. Constant fear of gaining weight and obsession with food are signs of an eating disorder. In an interview with CNN, Dr. David Rosen of the University of Michigan said that health and not body image is more of a concern for younger children.# This may be attributed to a misinterpretation of the campaigns to fight childhood obesity.
Be wary of overly intensive workouts. It is, of course, important for children to stay active, but there is a point where it becomes too much. This happens when working out becomes a priority and takes away from other aspects of life. Multiple daily work out regiments and a fixation on exercising are both signs.
Watch for a drop in body weight. If someone has lost a lot of weight in a short period of time or looks to be dropping below a healthy weight, this could be a sign of an eating disorder.
Pay attention to the portions of food being consumed. Many young children may be picky eaters, but a child with an eating disorder will either not eat out of concern for their weight or stay away from fat and carbohydrates as a self-imposed diet. On the other hand, frequent uncontrollable eating and eating past the point of feeling full is an indication of binge eating.
Contact a professional for more help. If you feel a child you know has an eating disorder and you need help reaching out to them, consult a medical professional. If you would like more information in determining if someone has an eating disorder, refer to the National Eating Disorders Association or National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders for more information.