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Does your child suffer with eating disorder?

This week is about eating disorder awareness (28th Feb – 6th March). It is a national annual campaign aiming to educate everyone on the realities of eating disorder that is increasing among people and children every year.

Eating Disorders is a mental illness that is estimated to affect around 1.25 million people in the UK according to the NHS survey. Anyone can have eating disorder irrespective of their age or gender. It is usually observed that eating disorder occurs in people who are suffering from mental health and they generate unusual eating habits to cope up with their feelings.

There are various types of eating disorder and are most commonly found in children and young people who have suffered from trauma or mental shock in the past. They quite often tend to binge or start hoarding food; specially the children who are in care as their past is traumatic or they have faced neglect etc. Also, if the children or young people are not fed properly this can increase their food anxiety and they can often tend to start stealing food.

You can help children in many ways to control their eating disorder – 

  • Talk out – It is important to consciously observe your child’s behaviour and talk to them if something is disturbing their mental health or causing trouble.
  • Let them Free – Let your children or young people eat freely and do not restrict them from eating as it may lead again to food bingeing as children might think that there is limited food for them to eat and in their growing ages it is important for them to have a healthy diet.
  • Abnormal weight loss – Some children might be obsessed of being thin and often do not eat their proper meals during the full day which can lead to abnormal low weight and eventually can build major deficiencies in their body.
  • Build a relationship – It is important to build a strong relationship with the child or young person so that they trust that you are there to look after them.

If you are a parent of a child with an eating disorder, it’s important to reach out to your child’s GP or nutritionist, or other mental health professionals to help you feel supported and get the best care for your child and help them overcome with their eating disorder before it gets worse.