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Eating disorders in younger children

(WRDW)
Published: Jun. 5, 2018 at 9:15 AM EDT
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Tuesday, June 5, 2018

(News 12 this morning)

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) -- Fifteen percent of young adults will suffer from some type of eating disorder before they are twenty.

However, these disorders are becoming more prevalent in younger children. Doctors say they see more pre-teens with eating disorders now more than ever.

These disorders are linked to children starting puberty earlier, the media, and wanting to have a sense of control over their lives. Experts say the solution is finding a balance.

Time after time kids go down the slide but doctors say that these kids aren’t sliding into a balanced diet. Caregiver, Ikeyawna Thomas knows this first hand.

“They’re pretty picked picky and selective about what they eat normally depends on their mood and how they’re feeling,” says Thomas.

Doctors say the age of onset eating disorders is getting younger; seeing more patients between the ages of nine and thirteen more than ever before.

Dr. Jacome Francisco explains, “Over the years it’s become more and more of a problem in each year it continues to grow especially the morbid obesity in the child the problem is created by having poor eating habits and we can find pretty much any excuse related to that."

These statistics don’t come as a surprise to Thomas.

“They get influenced a lot by what’s on the media and what’s on TV and then if they don’t eat you know they don’t get the proper nutrition or growth that they need so I think that leads to long-term effects in the end,” says Thomas.

Many children are insisting on eating clean and exercising more, which, may seem like ways the child is making healthy choices. However, doctors say they could be warning signs.

“A child will notice the difference between them and the others and that’s when they will start asking the parents I want to exercise, I want to eat clean, and the most important aspect on the parents is to teach them how to eat not just to feed them,” says Francisco.

Francisco also says parents should take the initiative and communicate with their children but, be selective about the words used. For example, eliminate words like fat and thin instead go for strong and healthy.