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Eating disorder awareness for parents of adolescents

Eating Disorders among U.S. adolescents highly influenced by the media.
Eating Disorders among U.S. adolescents highly influenced by the media.
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Weight loss can be a tricky subject here in the U.S. and so many young girls (and boys) are continuing to turn to anorexia, bulimia, and other eating disorders. While weight loss can be a very good and necessary thing, it can also turn into something horrible that affects millions of youth and even adults across the nation, and it can even cause death.

In the United States, as many as 10 million females and 1 million males are fighting a life and death battle with an eating disorder such as anorexia or bulimia and millions more struggle with binge eating disorder. Studies have shown that 80% of American women are dissatisfied with their appearance which explains the higher rate of eating disorders among females. In a 2003 review of the literature of Hoek and van Hoeken it was found that 40% of newly identified cases of anorexia are in girls 15 to 19 years old.

In spite of the unprecedented growth of eating disorders in the past two decades, eating disorders research continues to be under-funded, insurance coverage for treatment is inadequate, and societal pressures to be thin remain rampant. Legislators need to learn the facts so that more research can be done. Also schools need to provide adolescents with more information about the serious consequences of eating disorders.

If you suspect that your child or a relative suffers from an eating disorder, here is some useful advice: Get informed about eating disorders. Read articles and books or find information on the Internet. Understand that being thin does not mean being pretty or healthy.Be honest to the person whose eating habits worry you.Share your concerns. Be warm and clear, not scornful. It is far better to say in a calm, honest tone: “Your weight worries me” than to say reproachfully: “Look what you’ve become…” Talk to an expert. Don’t let yourself think of the person you love as an eating problem.

If seeking help in Miami, FL check out Dr. Paula Levine's Anorexia and Bulimia Resource Center, which has become part of the Miami Counseling and Resource Center. The Center is located at: 111 Majorca Ave, Suite B, in Coral Gables, FL 33134. If you are interested in their services you can call 305-448-8325 for more information. For a more serious case, when all other treatment options have been exhausted, a good doctor to contact is Dr. Amy Boyers who is a Licensed Psychologist best known for her specialties in the treatment of eating disorders and in cognitive-behavioral therapy. Dr. Amy Boyers is located at 7325 SW 63rd Avenue, Suite 101 in South Miami, FL 33143. For more information you can send her an e-mail here.

For a list of telling signs of anorexia and bulimia to look out for in your child check out the Alliance for Eating Disorders Awareness website.


  • Tracy Cook 5 years ago

    Great article! I grew up with an eating disorder that I still struggle with. I am very careful around my daughter because I want her to be free from that mindset. Very difficult issue. Thanks for the information-

  • Amina Rodriguez 5 years ago

    Thank you. It concerns me when my 100 pound, 5'2", 13 yr old daughter thinks her belly is too big. I always emphasize that everyone's different and I prioritize intellect in her. It's tricky because girls need to know that they are all uniquely beautiful but we also need to remind them that there is more to them than outer appearance. Building on their own personal strengths and talents is what truly matters and helps develop self-esteem.

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