Obese Children at Risk for Eating Disorders
Eating disorders are increasing among teens. A new group of teens is becoming more frequently caught up with eating disorders, according to a new study.
At least 6% of children suffer from eating disorders, according to a 2011 study published in the Archives of General Psychiatry. The Centers for Disease Control states that 55% of high school girls and 30% of boys report “disordered eating symptoms” to lose weight, such as diet pills, vomiting, laxatives, fasting and binge eating.
Eating disorders are serious mental illnesses, and have the highest mortality rate of any mental health disorder. Eating disorders lead to and occur along with depression, self-loathing, and suicidal thoughts.
Dieting Leads to Eating Disorders
Teens with eating disorders are often thought of as being dangerously thin, but a new demographic of eating disorder sufferers is arising. According to researchers at Minnesota’s Mayo Clinic, a growing number of teens who have suffered with obesity are now affected by eating disorders. At the Mayo Clinic, about 35% of kids and teens who come in for a restrictive eating problem have a history of having been overweight or obese, according to lead author Leslie Sim. This high-risk population often goes undetected, however, because they do not fit the mold of an eating disorder sufferer.
The reason for the increase in eating disorders among this group of young adults is their history of dieting and being concerned about weight. According to Sim, dieting is the number one risk factor for developing an eating disorder.
Adolescents and young adults must be taught healthy eating habits. While being obese has its own health risks, too much emphasis placed on an individual’s size can lead to eating disorders and mental health disorders. It is a balancing act, but with education and resources, our society can work to do a better job of encouraging our young people to be a healthy weight, but also be encouraged to respect their bodies no matter what their size.