Dr. Sara Forman, director of Boston Children’s Hospital’s Outpatient Eating Disorders Program and Dr. Tracy Richmond, director of the PREP weight management program in Adolescent Medicine, share five things parents should know about eating disorders.
Kids don’t have to be really thin to have an eating disorder.
Not everyone with an eating disorder looks like he or she has an eating disorder. The condition is often hidden in secret habits or obsessions. For example, binge eating and bulimia — or binging and purging — are common eating disorders not necessarily associated with thinness. …
When a child suffers from nutrition related health problems, it can cause a good deal of emotional and financial strain on her family. Obesity-related medical conditions like diabetes, sleep apnea, high blood pressure and cholesterol often lead to pricey medications and doctor visits, and are sometimes tied to emotional issues that can be costly to treat.
On the flip side, eating disorders can have a devastating affect on a person’s health and usually take years of regular therapy to treat successfully.
Treating these conditions in a single child is expensive; when you add together the cumulative costs of treating them on national level, the numbers are astronomical. But researchers from Children’s Hospital Boston and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), have found that a fairly inexpensive health promotion initiative could reduce both obesity and bulimia nervosa in adolescents, potentially saving millions in would-be healthcare costs.
Their study, recently published in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, shows that by adopting an educational initiative called Planet Health, five Boston area schools successfully reduced the prevalence of obesity and behaviors linked to bulimia. If these Boston schools are any indication, a nationwide adoption of the program could lead to less obesity and eating disorders on a national level, thereby saving millions in healthcare dollars usually allotted to treating these conditions. …
In the following blog, a teenager who has overcome an eating disorder reflects on what she wishes more parents knew about the condition. For more information visit Children’s Center for Young Women website, or this parent’s guide to eating disorders.
I never thought I was fat. In fact, I liked the way I looked before I developed an eating disorder and liked my body less and less as I continued to lose weight. What a lot of people, including my parents, didn’t understand is that an eating disorder functions as a coping mechanism for other problems in someone’s life.
As I met more people who suffered from eating disorders, I realized that many of us had something in common. Many felt some sort of loss of control in their life and had used their eating disorder as a reaction or way to deal with it. Although for some people bad body image did play a large role in what started their eating disorder, for a lot of people it was the feeling of losing control in their life that they discovered was the initial cause of their eating disorder.
People with anorexia nervosa feel like they are able to gain control through extreme dieting and strict rules around food. They control what they eat, and eventually the shape and size of their body. Although it is an unhealthy coping mechanism, the eating disorder gives them a sense of relief that there is one thing in their life they can completely control without anyone else being able to have an influence. …
From offering advice to exhausted caregivers, to exploring whether or not early school times are endangering the physical well being of teenagers, it’s been a busy week here at Thrive. See what you may have missed and/or what others are saying about some of these issues.
Deciphering epilepsy: Epilepsy is a disease that remains stubbornly bewildering—to the nearly three million Americans who have it and the doctors who treat it. This week 60 Minutes aired a piece on the disease featuring research done by Children’s Frances Jensen, MD, recently named president of the American Epilepsy Society.
Caring for the Caregiver: Dixie Coskie is the mother of a child who lived through both a traumatic brain injury and cancer. In this blog post, Dixie writes about the stress that comes from being the primary caregiver of a sick child and the importance of taking care of yourself. The story really hit home with our readers. Check out some of the comments, and join the conversation.
“Thank you for sharing your story! As a caregiver for my son, I also did not care for my own health and suffered the consequences. I am now back in school to become a medical social worker to use our experiences to assist others with chronic medical conditions adapt to their new lives. Even though I had to learn along the way, I do not want others to have to learn the hard way!” …