Different Types of Eating Disorders in Children

Eating disorders in children are fairly common. Many children in world do not have regular eating habit. They suffer from various kinds of malfunction of digestive system. This results either in malnutrition or obesity. Children have a different body structure; so it is important for parents to know what the right nutritional plan is for them. Often children complain of poor concentration or lack of sleep because of incorrect nutrition. There are many kinds of eating disorders in children. Some of the common ones are discussed below.

eating disorders in children

The Case of Pica

In this typical eating disorder the child craves for nonfood items like chalk, pencil, cigarettes, chips, baking soda or paint. Pica is often associated with developmental delays. In this kind of disorder the child completes his calorie requirement by eating synthetic substances. If the child lives in an environment of little support and care then onset of Pica may be suspected.

Pica is typical of lower income group people. Often Pica leads to abdominal pain, poisoning, intestinal obstruction, malnutrition, dental injury or intoxication. Pica can be very dangerous, if left unattended. If parents suspect their child to show excessive craving for non food items then they should take child to a doctor.

Prader-Willi Syndrome

In this eating disorder, the child may be fed by tubes. It’s a congenital problem. This kind of problem occurs because of deficiency in gene. This is a heredity problem. The child who has this eating disorder has to be fed by tubes. Often this eating disorder is associated with mental and developmental delay. This problem is grave and should not be left unattended.

In this disorder child will have excessive hunger. Child may have impulsive disorder to eat pet food. This leads to obesity. This disorder can lead to grave consequences like stunted growth, poor sexual growth, poor muscle tone, and speech impairment among others. In extreme cases, the child may have diabetes. The family is under great stress; so proper counseling should be done.

Night Eating Syndrome

This syndrome is a common eating disorder in which the child has morning anorexia and hyperphagia. Such an eating syndrome is usually caused by emotional stress. The child, if neglected in family leading to stress, may become victim. Usually in such a syndrome child postpones morning diet. He is forced to eat in evening which often leads to faulty sleep habits. It has its own consequences.

Some Common Facts About Eating Disorders

While some eating disorders are easy to handle, others can lead to life threating problems. In a nutshell, eating disorders can be summarized as bulimia, anorexia or binge eating.

Anorexia is a condition where child refuses to eat adequate calories in fear of becoming fat. Bulimia is excessive eating which   leads to morbid obesity. Obesity is difficult to control in children. Obesity can lead to heart related diseases and diabetes. In binge eating, the child gorges food without purging.

Eating disorders develop in children and adolescents. Girls are more affected than boys. Girls show typical anorexia or bulimia. Many boys show signs of binge eating. Eating disorders can lead to substance abuse and depression. Children may have low self-esteem. They may suffer from behavioral problems or social problems. So proper care and counseling is required on part of parents. Parents should interact with child to find out about the problem. It advised that if parents suspect of any eating disorder then family doctor’s help should be taken.

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