Eating Disorders and Teens
The term "eating disorders" includes a wide range of illnesses that continue to impact young people, particularly teens. With media personalities who are stick-shaped and the focus on dieting in our culture, children as young as five an six are worrying about what they eat and their size. Puberty is particularly tough on youth who on average gain about 40 pounds and grow about 10 inches during a two-to-three year period. If their family is "image-focused" and worried about weight, puberty tends to be one of the triggers for an eating disorder.
You can help by throwing away the fashion magazines and not judging your teens by their size. Please do not comment on how good people look because they have lost weight, or talk disparagingly about heavy people in front of your teens - they are using that information to judge themselves. If you want to do some reading, below are some young adult titles on eating disorders:
Block, F. L. (2002). Echo.
Greenfield, L. (2006). Thin
Hornbacher, M. (2006). Wasted: A memoir of anorexia and bulimia.
Menzie,M. (2003). Diary of an anorexic girl.
Newman, L. (1996). Fat chance.
Petit, C. (2003). Starving: A personal journey through anorexia.
Petit, C. (2006). Empty: A story of anorexia.
Rio, L. (2003). The anorexia diaries: A mother and daughter's triumph over teenage eating disorders.
National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA)
Photo credit: Alejandra Mavroski