Those in the eating disorder treatment industry have known anecdotally that there are increasing numbers of children being enrolled in treatment for eating disorders. However, recent information released by the American Academy of Pediatrics indicates that the prevalence of eating disorders in children is increasing at shocking rates.
An article on Aol Healthy Living discusses the release from the AAP. The analysis reveals that there has been a significant increase in the number of young children diagnosed with eating disorders, showing an increase of 119 percent in children under the age of 12. The report also indicated a significant increase in eating disorders among adolescents, with 0.5 percent meeting criteria for anorexia nervosa and between 1 and 2 percent meeting criteria for bulimia nervosa.
The information is important for parents to be aware of, but as the article discusses, most parents want to know how to make their kids resilient to eating disorders. Because the causes of eating disorders are a very complex mix of biological and environmental factors, there is no way to guarantee that a child will not develop an eating disorder.
However, the article does encourage parents to focus on a couple of principles to help their children navigate many of the challenges of childhood. First, parents should encourage their child by concentrating on who they are, not how they look or what they do. In addition, parents should never put their child on a diet.