ABC shared a disturbing story on Feb. 25 of a little girl that has been suffering from anorexia since she was in kindergarten and her teacher told the class about healthy eating. While it started with little things like giving up candy and junk food, she began exercising more on the monkey bars at school, then gave up her lunch all together. Finally, the little girl told her mom that she's hungry all the time but a voice in her head is telling her not to eat. According to the mother, there wasn't any physical signs of her being anorexic or having eating problems because she was right on mark with all the pediatrician's growth charts.
This is a dangerous problem. While this is only one little girl's sad story, a recent study shows that hospitalization due to anorexia has risen 72 percent in children from 1999 to 2009, the last year with documented statistics. Anorexia is a chronic brain disorder that has no known causes. It is a highly inheritable disease, however, when it occurs in children, it often has other underlying co-morbidity illnesses such as anxiety that attribute to their not eating.
Dr. Julie O'Toole, a pediatrician at the Kartini Clinic in Portland, Ore. says that it's not the media, or parents that are causing or promoting anorexia when it comes to children. There aren't any exact triggers but it usually has something to do with another underlying problem such as anxiety and mental disorders. In most cases, picky eaters aren't the ones that are most likely to end up with anorexia either. That's an entirely different problem according to Dr. O'Toole.
Unsurprising to anyone, it has been found that girls are 10 times more likely to affected with anorexia regardless of age, but this could be off because boys are often better at hiding their illness because they are naturally more hyper active and heavier than girls.