When the topic of body image and eating disorders is brought to a person’s attention, more times than not the idea of a self-conscious, thin adolescent girl comes to mind. However, reports have shown that children are exhibiting signs of lowered impressions of their own body and the presence of eating disorders are increasing at a younger age (Kedesdy, 2007). Very little is known about the commonness of eating disorders in pre-pubertal girls and boys. However, eating disorder specialists and programs in the United States are reporting an increase in young children who need help with related eating problems. According to the text book "Exploring Life Development", in their attempt to reach "perfect" slimness, anoerexics lose between 25 and 50 percent of their body weight. (Katzman, 2005). The problem with body dissatisfaction is causing an increase in disordered eating and weight loss in young children. “Recent studies have shown that 42 % of first-, second- and third-grade girls want to be thinner; that 40 % of almost 500 fourth-graders surveyed said they diet "very often" or "sometimes"; and that 46 percent of 9-year-olds and 81 percent of 10-year-olds admit to dieting, binge eating or fear of getting fat” (Equit, M., Pälmke, M., Becker, N., Moritz, A., Becker, S., & Gontard, A., 2013). This essay will explore the development of eating disorders in children. It will show that these disorders are closely connected to a combination of physiological changes, environmental, and social factors.
There are two types of eating disorders which are noted as being used to control food intake and result in extreme weight loss, Anorexia Nervosa and Bulimia. Anorexia is a condition in which a child refuses to eat adequate calories out of an intense and irrational fear of becoming fat. Bulimia is a condition in which a child binge eats and then purges the food by vomiting or using laxatives to prevent weight gain. Diagnosing a child with an eating disorder is difficult. It...
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