If your child is showing an increased disinterest in food, they may have an eating disorder. While you might think that eating disorders begin during the teenage years, that's not necessarily true. Research has shown that even very young children can develop anorexia. In fact, the same studies have found that babies may be born with the genetic predisposition to develop eating disorders. If you suspect that your child may have an eating disorder you should speak to your primary care physician as soon as possible. Here are some warning signs of which you should be aware.
If your child has been losing weight or hasn't been gaining weight the way that they should, there may be a cause for concern. This is particularly true if it appears that your child is eating a normal amount of food. If your child hasn't had a significant weight gain between physicals or has been consistently losing weight, you should talk to your doctor about a possible eating disorder—especially if all other possible causes have been ruled out.
Unexplained Changes in Eating Habits
If your child used to enjoy a wide variety of foods but now prefers to stick to a few specific foods, or has removed one specific food group from their diet—such as carbohydrates or proteins—you should schedule an appointment with your child's doctor. Skipping meals is another potential warning sign that you should discuss with the doctor. This is particularly true if your child used to eat every meal
Increased Interest in Exercise or Fitness
If your child is suddenly showing an increased interest in exercise or fitness routines, this may be an indication that your child has developed an eating disorder, especially if they've also developed either of the warning signs described above. If your child used to avoid doing any type of exercise but now prefers to work out over all other activities, there may be a cause for alarm. Monitor the number of times your child works out during the week. If they are working out more than just a couple of times a week, you should speak to your child's doctor about a possible eating disorder.
Eating disorders can begin in early childhood. If your child is exhibiting any of the signs described above, you need to sit down with their primary care physician as soon as possible. Treatments are available. For more information, consider contacting a physician like those at Rural Health Services Consortium Inc.