Recognizing Eating Disorders

Early Adolescence

It Starts Earlier Than You Think

Most people think that eating disorders happen in the later years of high school or in college but in reality they can start a lot sooner. When children are in early adolescence and transitioning into the middle school environment, kids are very cruel. You're either seen as cool or lame and kids will do just about anything to fit in. For "Adolescents stuck in either foreclosure or diffusion are passive in the face of identity concerns and have adjustment issues." (Berk, 2010)

Not Just Females...

When people hear of eating disorders they automatically associate it with females but that's not the case all of the time. This is a mental disease that can affect everyone.

Some things that can trigger this in males and females:

  • Sports
  • Romantic Relationships
  • Pubertal Development

Signs and Symptons

Working It Out Together: Eating Disorders in Kids and What Parents Can Do by Dr. Pam Trout

Ways to Approach the Problem

Not Too Pushy

  • Have a private conversation
  • Express your concern
  • Contact a doctor
  • Do not blame yourself

Tips to Prevent it

Even though there is no definite way to prevent these kind of things from happening, there are things to help it. "Relationships with friends, teasing about eating habits by family members and the mass media were of specific relevance." (Krug, Villarejo, Jimenez-Murcia, Perpina, Vilarrasa, et al., 2013) You as parents may not think that you're young teenagers value you your opinion or pay attention to what you say but they do.

Things to do:

  • Let them know you're there for them
  • Be involved
  • Be open
  • Encourage a healthy lifestyle


Krug, I. I., Villarejo, C. C., Jiménez‐Murcia, S. S., Perpiñá, C. C., Vilarrasa, N. N., Granero, R. R., & ... Fernández‐Aranda, F. F. (2013). Eating‐related environmental factors in underweight eating disorders and obesity: Are there common vulnerabilities during childhood and early adolescence?.European Eating Disorders Review, 21(3), 202-208

Berk, L. E. (2010). Development through the lifespan (5th ed.). Boston: Allyn & Bacon.