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February 22, 2019

Five Signs Your Teen May be Struggling with an Eating Disorder  

Joyce Knestrick, PhD, CRNP, FAANP

Eating disorders affect 30 million people—more than Alzheimer’s, schizophrenia and autism combined. Roughly 95 percent are between the ages of 12 and 25, and only 30 percent will seek treatment, in part because their parents have no idea they’re suffering.  
 
February 25 marks the beginning of Eating Disorder Awareness Week—the perfect excuse to talk about an issue that’s not talked about nearly enough. If you’re worried, here are five signs your teen may need help: 
 
1. They’re not gaining weight. Kids should add pounds as they grow. 
2. They’re skipping family meals. Hiding eating habits is a red flag.
3. They have peculiar habits. They cut their food into tiny pieces or overuse condiments.
4. They obsess over exercise. Their whole day revolves around burning calories. 
5. They fixate on food, but don’t eat it. They love to grocery shop and cook, but don’t enjoy the fruits of their labor.   
 
If you think your teen is developing an eating disorder, call your nurse practitioner. They can help you find the right help, which may include a psychologist, dietician and possibly even a physical therapist. Eating disorders can lead to serious health complications, so don’t hesitate to seek treatment!