An eating disorder is real and can affect children of all ages. Children grow and develop every day, and a plant-based vegan diet is all they need to fuel their daily activities. At times children become picky eaters at certain phases of their lives. These phases are different from eating disorders such as bulimia, anorexia, and binge eating disorder.
Unfortunately, eating disorder is on the rise among older children and teenagers, most of them develop these disorders between 11 and 13 years of age. All hope is not lost as there are a lot of things that can be done to prevent eating disorders from happening in the future, and many signs that can alert family and friends to seek professional help immediately.
Preventing Eating Disorders in Children
Many children become aware of their sexuality by the end of primary school, they become interested in the opposite sex, aware of fashion, and personal appearance. Soon puberty sets in, they find their bodies changing all of a sudden without their consent, and all these can be confusing, as eating disorders may set in.
Family and friends can help curb eating disorders at these ages by doing the following:
1. Encouraging a diverse plant-based vegan diet for everyone.
2. Encouraging healthy talks about school, life, and dreams, etc with their children.
3. Listening to their children’s opinions on body image and weight.
4. Supporting their children’s talents and skills.
5. Encouraging children to exercise for health and fun.
6. Remind children regularly that they are loved, respected, and valued irrespective of their body size and weight.
7. Encouraging healthy eating habits.
8. Encouraging them to be realistic about healthy weight and image.
Common Signs of Eating Disorders in Children
Children can hide the signs and symptoms of eating disorders for months or even years which can be detrimental to their health. Some behaviors can signal an eating disorder, such as:
1. Eating alone in secret.
2. Fear of weight gain.
3. Excessive weight gain or loss
4. Eating any and every kind of food all day.
5. Always wanting to exercise to burn calories.
6. Vomiting on purpose.
7. Always in the toilet running the taps to cover evidence of vomiting.
8. Bad breath and swollen cheeks from excessive vomiting.
9. Always worried about their shape, fashion, clothes, weight, or personal appearance.
10. Continuous discussion of dieting or excessive dieting.
Paying attention to your children regularly can help you to detect these signs listed above, as they are often vivid. So if you notice any of these signs in your child/children, then it is time to seek professional help, to prevent eating disorders from happening in the nearest future.