Eating Disorders in Children and Teens

People with eating disorders have disordered relationships about food. These relationships can make it difficult to function properly and often lead to more health problems down the line.

Children and teens can struggle with eating disorders, so it’s important to be able to recognize the signs so that you can help your kids recover and develop a healthier relationship with food.

What Causes Eating Disorders?

We really don’t know what causes eating disorders. The most common theories involve a combination of genetics, social factors, and behavioral factors. For example, children and teens tend to be impressionable and might be influenced by images of what the “ideal” body looks like. This combination of societal pressure and personal insecurities may result in an eating disorder.

The Three Main Eating Disorders and How To Notice Them

There are three main eating disorders that someone is likely to struggle with. Each one has recognizable symptoms and specific behavioral patterns to keep an eye out for:

  • Binge eating. With binge eating, a person rapidly eats a lot of food, especially after a period of eating less.
  • Bulimia. In this disorder, a person overeats, such as through binge eating, but then purges the food to avoid weight gain. The purging is often done through vomiting or laxatives.
  • Anorexia. If someone suffers from anorexia, they refuse to eat enough calories due to an intense fear of gaining weight.

The signs of an eating disorder might be subtle, but it’s important to pay attention to them. If your child is weighing themselves frequently, constantly attempting to lose weight even if they’re already thin, suffers from depression or anxiety, shows some strange eating habits, or experiences menstruation problems, then you should talk to a doctor right away.

How To Help

If you suspect your child is suffering from an eating disorder, it’s crucial to get them the help they need. Eating disorders are dangerous and cannot be overcome through sheer will. Your child needs support and treatment to recover.





The information and content on our website should not be used as a substitute for medical treatment or advice from your doctor.