A recent parenting tip from commonsense media reported that 25% of anorexics and bulimics, as well as 40% of binge eaters were men. Unlike females, who just want to be thin, men involved with recent research at Harvard cite a desire to have chiseled bodies and "six-pack" abs like those of famous TV and movie stars and athletes.
To help our teens resist unhealthy ways of obtaining perfect bodies, commonsense media suggested we do a number of things:
Tell our teens that few men actually look like those famous people, and if they do it is with a lot of support, work, in some cases, surgery, and money;
Ask our kids about their friends risky behavior including disordered eating, steroid use, and over exercising;
Watch for signs of eating disorders including drastically changing eating patterns, vomiting, sudden weight loss, large muscle growth, and a jump in exercising time.
A newer, and less accepted form of disordered eating is called "orthorexia" and manifests as a fixation with only eating food that is healthy or organic. Not a bad thing unless the need to eat well becomes the primary focus of life and eating must be balanced by excessive exercise. If you are concerned about your teen's eating, make an appointment with your child's doctor immediately. The earlier intervention begins, the more likely it is to be successful.