As we noted in the “Childhood Obesity” infographic, 26% of sixth graders are bullied, teased, or rejected daily based on their size; this increases to 61% by high school. Additionally, obese children are 1.6 times more likely to be bullied by non-obese children.
Children that are bullied over their size are more likely to develop psychological issues, such as depression, anxiety, panic disorders, and eating disorders. In a study published in November 2012 by Beat, bullying was found to be responsible for eating disorders in more than 75% of participants; this is an increase of 67% since they carried out a similar study in 2010. More than 40% of participants reported that the bullying began before they were 10 years old.
Symptoms of eating disorders in children are similar to the symptoms that appear in teenagers and adults.Your child may have an eating disorder if they exhibit any combination of the following symptoms:
- sudden weight loss
- preoccupation with food
- wearing extra layers of clothing or loose clothing
- refusing to eat with other people
- refusing to eat certain foods, certain food groups (such as meat), or particular macronutrients (such as carbs)
- engaging in excessive exercise
- expressing concerns that they are “too fat”
- skipping meals and/or eating small portion sizes
If you are concerned your child has an eating disorder it’s important that you don’t try to deal with it on your own, oftentimes this can make the eating disorder worse. If you are in the Cincinnati area, you can contact me to discuss your concerns. If you are outside on the Cincinnati area, express your concerns to you child’s pediatrician or contact me, I may know someone in your area that I can refer you to.
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