Children and Eating Disorders Essay

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Children and Eating Disorders

In the past few decades researchers have focused on eating disorders, the causes of these disorders and how they can be treated. However, it has mainly been in the last decade that researchers have started looking at eating disorders in children, the reasons why these disorders are developing at such a young age, and the best recovery program for these young people. To understand this growing problem it is necessary to ask a few important questions:

Is there a relationship between family context and parental input and eating disorders?
What effect do mothers who suffer or have suffered from an eating disorder have on their children and specifically their daughters’ eating patterns?
What is the best
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Other common features include self-induced vomiting, laxative abuse, excessive exercising, distorted body image, and morbid preoccupation with energy intake. Physical findings include dehydration, electrolyte imbalance, hypothermia, poor peripheral circulation and even circulatory failure, cardiac arrythmias, hepatic steatosis, and ovarian and uterine regression (Bryant-Waugh and Lask, 1995).


Eating disorders in children, like in adults, are generally viewed as a multi-determined syndrome with a variety of interacting factors, biological, psychological, familial and socio-cultural. It is important to recognize that each factor plays a role in predisposing, precipitating, or perpetuating the problem.

In a study by Marchi and Cohen (1990) maladaptive eating patterns were traced longitudinally in a large, random sample of children. They were interested in finding whether or not certain eating and digestive problems in early childhood were predictive of symptoms of bulimia nervosa and anorexia nervosa in adolescence. Six eating behaviors were assessed by maternal interview at ages 1through 10, ages 9 through 18, and 2.5 years later when they were 12 through 20 years old. The behaviors measured included (1) meals unpleasant; (2) struggle over eating; (3) amount eaten; (4) picky eater; (5) speed of eating (6) interest in food. Also data on pica
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