World Health Day: The causes of eating disorders are very complex, characteristically encompassing hereditary, emotional, environmental, and socio-cultural aspects. Here’s how you can deal with a child suffering from an eating disorder.
World Health Day: Parents should nurture trust in their kids suffering from eating disorder
- Create an environment of support for kids with eating disorder
- The causes of eating disorders are very complex
- Having unusual food rituals signal eating disorders in kids
April 7 is observed as World Health Day. On the occasion of this special day, which aims at providing access to healthcare services to everyone, everywhere, we take a look at eating disorders in kids, and how parents can help their kids overcome them.
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Parents often find it difficult to deal with eating disorders in kids. Some of the common eating disorders in kids include like anorexia, bulimia, binge eating or avoidant/restrictive food intake disorder (ARFID). Families tend to feel vulnerable and frustrated when helping kids overcome the eating disorder. Even though parents are held accountable for kids’ health, they are not in full control of the. It is actually up to the kids on how and when the progress towards the path of recovery.
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As a responsible family, it is your responsibility to create an environment of support, sustenance and information for your child. You must allow them to start taking charge for their own well-being.
World Health Day: Eating disorders in kids: causes and symptoms
The causes of eating disorders are very complex, characteristically encompassing hereditary, emotional, environmental, and socio-cultural aspects. Kids are already under pressure if they are suffering from a psychological disorder or if they are constantly being told about dieting and importance of being in shape.
Signs that your child is suffering from an eating disorder include weight gain, inaccurate sense of body image, feeling obsessed with eating food, variations in child’s body weight, dieting at an young age, refusing to eat in front of others, indulging in extreme exercising, having unusual food rituals or displaying strange behaviours, making a trip to the washroom post eating, irritability or variations in mood, weakness and tiredness, thinning of hair, indulging in sports that focus on weight loss, having a family member with an eating illness and cerebral health problems such as anxiety, depression, or OCD to name a few.
World Health Day: Tell your child with confidence that s/he has the capability to recover from eating disorder
Photo Credit: iStock
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How can parents help a child with eating disorder?
It is important for parents to be aware of eating disorders. They should seek out information and get educated about eating disorders. Look for ways of dealing with eating disorders that suit your situation.
1. Prioritise self-care: Children will follow the kind of lifestyle you set in front of your children. You can only efficiently care for your child when your own requirements are being met. Parents should start following a well-balanced lifestyle by consuming nutritious meals. Get proper amount of sleep and exercise regularly. Engage in activities that feel wholesome and joyful to you. If you follow a healthy lifestyle, you child will automatically follow your footsteps.
2. Get early help: When you diagnose an eating disorder early, the child definitely stands a better chance of recovery. Schedule an appointment with your child’s paediatrician to further aid your child’s recovery process, personally attend all appointments with your child. The treatment will take time and effort. Get involved with the care team to get all the assistance your child requires.
3. Practice compassion and kindness: Offer yourself and your child sympathy. Never hold your child to be a culprit for falling prey to such a disorder. Guilt, blame, and disgrace will fail to create the gentle conditions that best serve positive healing.
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4. Nurture trust: Lend your child ample opportunity to have faith and trust in you. Your child is possibly experiencing terrific amount of shame about their eating disorder, which forces them to departure into silence without speaking out their truth. Let your kids understand they can always come and tell you when they purge or are feeling anxiety about eating, and that you are trying to comprehend with their condition.
5. Believe in retrieval: It is important for families to firstly believe that the phase of retrieval is possible. Set for your child a steady confidence that they have the courage and strength to accomplish health, and that blunders are not signals of failure. Particularly in times of setback, it is vital to offer absolute support and highlight your belief that recovery is possible.
On the whole, if your child is purging or is binging on food, the first and foremost treatment involves the family highlighting on standardising their intake of food. So, a child who over-indulgence needs to be thought to consume the next meal at a steady time. The child must be encouraged to eat within every few hours, hungry or not hungry, in order to stop big hunger cues later on, which lead to bingeing. Above all, remember that retrieval from an eating syndrome doesn’t happen just overnight, and it doesn’t happen alone. Eating disorders are curable, and with the right kind of support from your family and child health expert, your child can go on to live a full and healthy lifestyle.
(Dr. Atish Laddad is Founder andDirector at Docterz)
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