Anorexic 9 Year Olds???

Avatar for melissamc
Community Leader
Registered: 03-22-2007
Anorexic 9 Year Olds???
8
Tue, 08-06-2013 - 1:44pm

This story just floored, I didn't realize that eating disorders can happen at such a young age.  A 9 year old??? It just boggles the mind.  Here is a piece from the article I just read, I think it's something all parents need to read:

Slowly, the pieces fell into place: odd comments over the summer that I had dismissed, thinking if I didn’t make a big deal out of them, they would pass like so many other random fears and concerns that my children had.

Questions, such as:

“Are my legs fat?”

“I feel full.”

“Do you think I’m fat?”

My response? It was so absurd I laughed and told her if anything she probably didn’t eat enough.

I also didn’t pay attention when she lost interest in foods she had once loved. I thought it was just a phase. In her short nine years, my complex daughter had brought up unusual fears and concerns. Usually if I didn’t make a big deal — took it in stride and gave her a little reassurance — it went away.

This time, it didn’t.

When the scale showed she was only 50 pounds — seven pounds less than she’d been during a visit only a few months before — her pediatrician referred us to a children’s hospital. There, they diagnosed her as malnourished and suffering from an eating disorder.

http://www.salon.com/2013/08/06/my_anorexic_9_year_old/?utm_hp_ref=parents&ir=Parents

Is this something that is even on your radar yet?  The mom talks about how she's always tried to avoid this road, they didn't use words like diet,  fat or skinny, they kept social influences at a minimum and didn't battle with food issues at the dinner table.  We are careful about that as well, although we have boys and they don't seem all that concerned about their appearance. 

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iVillage Member
Registered: 09-12-2003
Wed, 08-07-2013 - 7:02am

As someone who struggled with this as a teen, this is part of why I get so enraged at the fat police taking over our schools.

Here they test our kids BMI per law. Picture the old scolisis testing or lice testing we had as a kid but they line them up and put them on scales. Ok if my kid is fat and I am clueless then there is a bigger problem. Like I tell my Dr you don't have to tell me I am fat I can see that. If our kids are reguired to have physicals for school then clearly at some point they are seeing a dr and if we are supposibly in the medical mecca just let the dr handle this and keep the school nurse out of it.

So I don't have girls but I have a very tall and thin boy. He has always weighed more then he looked. My OB appologized. I kept saying he was going to be big and he said no he didn't think he would weigh more then 7lbs and when he was 8.7 at birth I got the oh you were right. We go for our physical every year and the first year they started with BMI his dr reweighed him because it came back obese. Convince the nurse screwed up but turns out he is one of those people that the standard BMI isn't going to cut it and the Dr gets that but the school doesn't. Sure enough I get the report from school time after time that he is overweight meanwhile you can see his ribs. We one took a picture of him in his bathing suit rib cage and all and sent it off to the first lady along with the copy of his fat report card saying guess this is the new face of childhood obesity.

Now aside from the absurdity that my rail thin kid is obese per the school, since they also talk to them about weight issues he is now petrified of eating fatty foods. We joke we need to put meat on his bones and he freaks out. He is an active kid, eating junk here and there isn't going to hurt him. Now he is an anxious child so of course if they tell him something is bad he panics about it. My other issue is they don't do this very privately and kids do talk. They don't do it every year but they start in either 1st or 2nd grade.

Thing with eating disorders is its a distorted view of your self image. My problems starts when I got curves and none of my classmates were. Well of course when someone starts wearing a bra and you are flat sally and you don't want to be the mean girl in you can come out. I was called fat but I wasn't I just started to develop but I didn't look like other girls in my class and this was at 11. Now it was probably a good 5 years before it really became an issue but I can see how with all this emphasis on child obesity plus all the images in pop culture a kid with a lower self image could start down that path.

I worry about my DS reaction to fat. DH and I joke when the fat report card comes home but this time I saw the panic in his eyes "im fat?!?!" I went over what his Dr did he is just on a different chart and I try to avoid talking in front of him about even my own diet struggles. I know thats where some of my issues came from. Watching my mom struggle my whole life. Can't think of a time she wasn't on a diet. I try to eat right and stay active and pass that on to him. If I go on a diet I don't make a deal of it.

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Avatar for melissamc
Community Leader
Registered: 03-22-2007
Thu, 08-08-2013 - 1:22pm

You made some really good points, I'm sorry that your son is made to feel bad about his weight.  My oldest was called skeleton for the longest time at school, the ADHD meds made him drop weight drastically and he also grew several inches.  His BMI was almost to the malnourished level, but we've managed to get him healthier since then.  I encourage him to eat whatever because he just needed calories.   Although he joked about it, I'm sure it was also very hard for him as well. 

They do the BMI report at our elementary as well.  It's done in gym class and comes in a report along with other stats on physical activies (such as how many curl ups, sit ups, pacer, etc. they can do).  There is a little blurb in there depending on their BMI, and for one of my twins who would have a higher BMI, would have suggestions on how to get him more active and eating better.  I don't like how they talk to the kids in the younger ages, I member the 1st grade teacher telling me one time on how a student was worried about eating any food because they had discussed choking and they were petrified that it would happen to them.  You'd think they would better understand how kids take what they say! 

I have mixed feelings about the nutrionist they have come to the school.  One benefit that it's had on my youngest is that he's tried some new things.  I haven't heard him talk about foods that are bad, so I hope all they are doing is encouraging them to eat healthier without too much negativity or guilt.  Sean hates milk, but she made them a banana grape smoothie that he loves, and will make one for himself one almost every day now.  So in that aspect, I'm good with it.  If they kept expounding on unhealthy foods instead, I'd be complaining. 

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iVillage Member
Registered: 09-12-2003
Fri, 08-09-2013 - 12:42pm

Between the ADHD medication and his oral surgery in April when they did the BMI this year he was in "normal" range. Its the education on the staff doing or issuing the results. His doctors always tell us he just doesn't fit in the normal scale. We had people come to work to do these screenings and the nurse I had specifically asked about my active level because my BMI is higher if I don't work out but if I am working out regularly which I do then the thing she had accounts for muscle weight and fat. I told her about about  the school thing and she said she sees it often they don't acount for active a person is when they do these. Kids playing sports will have muscle weight.

The do get the junk is bad lecture at school. My view is in moderation. But I remember my oldest freaking out because something he liked has sugar. Was like I was giving him drugs. Sugar the new just say no campainge in schools. We can't even have bake sales and I could go on and on but I would say even because sugar made out to be the enemy less then 1% of his school is overweight...

As for teacher comments. In 5th grade for some reason my teacher told us how people on occassion would sponataneously combust. I was PETRIFRIED one day all or part of me would just go up in flames. DH laughs at me now but I was really freaked out.

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Avatar for cmlisab
iVillage Member
Registered: 09-30-2011
Mon, 08-19-2013 - 2:00pm

Wow, 9 years old. Frown 

I had never heard of BMI testing in schools! Guess that means our state (or is a city law?) doesn't mandate it.....yet. 

Lisa 

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-12-2003
Mon, 08-26-2013 - 9:00am

In MA they made a law a few backs that every kid in public school is checked for BMI in grades 1,4,7 and 10. We get a report from the nurse with here they stand. In first grade it said he was overweight boarderline obses. We laughed. They must have taken some slack for that because now it just gives you their BMI and says talk to their Dr. So seeing as we also have mandatory health insurance in this state and they need physicalls for kindergarden and 5th grade what is the point of you issuing me a letter to talk to my kids dr. Going to assume ANY half way decent Dr is going to cover this in the physical so even you don't take your kid anually you are taking them to mandated ones around the same years you are testing them?!? Don't think a 1st grader goes from normal to obese in a year without even a HACK dr picking up on that. Furthermore the parent who may ignore the Dr warning is definately not going to care what a school nurse says but in liberal land this was a FANTASTIC idea...

Meanwhile at his school the VP has banned running and playing with balls before and after school and at the 5 min of recess they get. Seriously people you make NO sense to me!!

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Avatar for melissamc
Community Leader
Registered: 03-22-2007
Mon, 08-26-2013 - 3:32pm
That doesn't make any sense at all. They should be encouraging any play that gets the kids running and moving. Have the parents every banded together and approached the school board about the lack of recess and exercise?

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Avatar for melissamc
Community Leader
Registered: 03-22-2007
Mon, 08-26-2013 - 3:54pm

I don't think it's a state law?  I'm going to look it up!

I found a good website that has each state's requirement:

http://www.nasbe.org/healthy_schools/hs/bytopics.php?topicid=4100&catExpand=acdnbtm_catD

Mine isn't required, but our school district has it as an overall physical health evaluation.  It's done in gym class.

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iVillage Member
Registered: 09-12-2003
Tue, 08-27-2013 - 10:26am

yah its like talking to a wall. One of his friends is going to new school for part of this reason. He likes sports so he used to bring a football to play before school. Now I get after a certain time there are too many people but the old VP had a deal with them they could play with a ball until 8am after that it had to go away because too many people. He retired 2 years ago and this new one is one of those bubble wrap and put survelance on your kids. So parents get called to her office over the football and mom has a talk and VP oks a nerf ball so she runs out and gets one only to be called back NEXT day saying its not allowed. Well its nerf who is going to get hurt and this time she is told well its not fair some kids don't know how to play or aren't good. Well then how are they going to learn!! They checked out a catholic school because their little one like mine missing the town deadline and when they had their oldest sit in a day the principal was playing basketball with the kids after school and they were sold (well where sold before then but they never looked back after that).

The short recess is blamed on state standards and bad state test results. They can hardly cram what they need to in a day. Mind you old superintended noticed we were going 30 min too short a day but his attempts to lenghten the day were meet with opposition from teachers union. Their comprise they cut from lunch. We are still short on actual time required but basically until state investigates they aren't changing it. Well they did but changed back.

 

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