Child eating disorders on the rise

Avatar for cmkarla
Registered: 01-03-2001
Child eating disorders on the rise
Wed, 08-22-2012 - 11:31am

According to this alarming report by, "A study conducted by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality showed that hospitalizations for eating disorders in children under 12 increased by 119% between 1999 and 2006. More recent numbers are unavailable, but experts say the problem isn't getting any better." more

What do you think is causing this? What can be done to help?


iVillage Member
Registered: 10-31-2001
Wed, 08-22-2012 - 11:56am

Gosh, hearing that little girl's voice at the end of the video... was heartbreaking. And the figures you mentioned are really upsetting; I think a lot of it is because there is so much emphasis on "perfect" body images and kids today are bombarded with it constantly.

There is so much attention being paid to the childhood obesity problem that anorexia and bulima, eating disorders on the opposite end of that spectrum, are often ignored or not seen as potentially threatening as being overweight is, at least that's been my experience.

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-08-2011
Wed, 08-22-2012 - 12:41pm
I'd have to agree with turkeyplease. The mainstream media just smacks us in the face daily, reminding us what beauty is (Hollywood!). Celebrity gossip is so in our face, how could our children not pick up on that? There's such a pressure these days to be thin and beautiful- I can only imagine that's one reason children are developing eating disorders.

Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind.~ Dr Seuss

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-20-2009
Wed, 08-22-2012 - 12:56pm

Hey Karla,

I often think that a big part of the problem is the way we get made to feel about our own self worth. The media presents airbrushed stars who look 'perfect',  anyone in the entertainment industry has comments made in magazines about any poundage they have acquired, etc. It is all negative feedback about our weigh and image. We see ourselves a lesser people if we don't remain a tiny size. Numbers on the scales become more important than we are.

Yes, being overweight isn't a healthy option but then neither is having anorexia. We need to give the young people of today better support rather than fuelling the fire with the need to be and look 'perfect'.

I also feel that children whose parents constantly swing from one diet to another sends out some very mixed messages. The young child then starts to focus on food but in a negative way. That's just my thoughts.



iVillage Member
Registered: 09-06-2007
Wed, 08-22-2012 - 1:30pm

I don't know that it's really fair to blame the media for the cause of it all. I do agree that it can fuel eating disorder behaviors but not necessarily cause the problem.

I don't believe that eating disorders are all about image...'perfect' bodies or whatever. Of course the ED would like us all to believe that. Imo, it's all about our relationship with food in general. My family are all overweight and they utilize food as a means to cope the same as I do. The difference is they overeat. I don't eat. They haven't been diagnosed with an eating disorder either but I have. Although, I think they have an ED nonetheless.

I don't think it's a good idea to use food as a reward/punishment. In my eating disorder mind, that translates into I can only eat if I'm good...and honestly I'm never "good" enough so therefore I'm not allowed to eat. If I do then I deserve to be punished.

I do agree that things such as bullying, abuse, etc. can play a HUGE role in developing an ED. It's much like any other addiction. It's a coping mechanism.

Sorry to go on here. The bottom line is here for me is that it's very important to help our kids develop healthy coping mechanisms as well as a healthy relationship with food.

Community Leader
Registered: 10-22-2001
Sun, 09-23-2012 - 12:40pm

This was an awesome post!