Identifying and treating eating disorders in children
Eating disorders can be complex and hard to identify and treat in children and teens, but the earlier an eating disorder is detected, the better chance at a healthy outcome for a child. The American Academy of Pediatrics has published an excellent review of them here. It’s written for physicians but easily understandable for parents. For too long eating disorders were considered a disease that afflicted mostly affluent white teenage girls. We know today girls and boys of all ages, income levels, and racial and ethnic groups may be struggling with eating disorders.
Some adolescents may have dietary habits that disguise eating disorders, such as those who become increasingly restrictive about the quality—as opposed to the quantity—of their food consumption. Teens may spend excessive amounts of time in meal planning and experience extreme guilt or frustration when their food-related practices are interrupted. The average age for the onset of eating disorders is 12.5, but many have their onset later in adolescence. Common forms of them are anorexia nervosa, avoidant/restrictive food intake disorder, binge eating disorder, and bulimia.
If you are concerned your child may have an eating disorder, definitely consult your physician, but the link to the article above is full of useful information.