Child Nutrition & Eating Disorders

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Whatever a child eats is vital to their growth, development, and overall physical and mental health. If they are not monitored about their diet, they may develop malnutrition, resulting in eating disorders. If your child has eating disorders, Dubai has some excellent child nutritionists who offer expert advice to parents. They can support and guide parents about their child’s healthy eating. At Euromed Clinic Center, we believe it is vital to nurture all children nutritionally, physically, and emotionally. Our nutritionists can help your family plan and achieve nutritional goals, ensuring their positive impact on each family member’s life.

What are eating disorders?

Eating disorders can be detected if a person develops an abnormal attitude towards food, causing them to change their eating habits and behavior. A person with an eating disorder excessively focuses on their weight and shape. It leads them to make unhealthy food choices with damaging results to their health. Eating disorders include a range of conditions that can affect someone physically, psychologically, and socially. Usually, due to peer pressure or poor body image, teenagers can be susceptible to developing eating disorders. Thankfully, our Eating Disorder Treatment Dubai can help parents cope with this modern-day challenge.

Common Eating Disorders

Some of the common eating disorders are as follows:

●     Anorexia Nervosa

If someone tries to keep their weight alarmingly low, they may be suffering from anorexia nervosa. Such people may starve themselves or exercise excessively to maintain their weight.

Around 1 in 2,000 men and 1 in 250 women experience anorexia nervosa at some point in life. Generally, this condition develops around the age of 16 or 17.

●     Bulimia

When a person has episodes of binge eating and then deliberately getting sick or using laxatives to try to control their weight, it is called bulimia.

Bulimia is two to three times more common than anorexia nervosa, and 90% of the people with this disorder are females. It normally develops around the age of 18 or 19.

●     Binge Eating Disorder (BED)

Binge eating disorder is when an individual feels compelled to overeat large amounts of food in a short period.

Binge eating affects females and males equally and it usually appears later in life, between 30 and 40. As it is challenging to define binge eating precisely, it is unclear how widespread it is. Generally, it is estimated to affect around 5% of the adult population.

●     Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (EDNOS)

Some people, particularly young, may be diagnosed with an eating disorder not otherwise specified (EDNOS). It means they have some, but not all, of the typical signs of eating disorders, like anorexia or bulimia.

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Causes of Eating Disorders

Eating Disorders Dubai are often blamed on the social pressure to look perfect. However, the causes are usually more complex than that. We can associate an eating disorder with biological, genetic, or environmental factors combined with a particular event triggering the disorder.

The chances of a person having an eating disorder increase due to the following risk factors:

  • Having a family history of depression, eating disorders, or substance abuse
  • Being criticized for their eating habits, body shape, or weight
  • Being overly concerned with becoming slim, particularly if combined with social pressure
  • Specific underlying characteristics – for example, having an obsessive personality, an anxiety disorder, low self-esteem, or being a perfectionist
  • Traumatic experiences, such as sexual or emotional abuse or the death of someone special
  • Complicated relationships with family or friends
  • Stressful situations – for example, problems at school or work

Symptoms of an Eating Disorder

It can often be challenging to identify that a loved one or friend has developed an eating disorder. Someone with an eating disorder is usually secretive and defensive about their eating and weight, and they may deny being unwell. However, some general symptoms are as follows:

  • Missing meals
  • Complaining about being fat while having an average weight or being underweight
  • Continuously weighing and looking at themselves in the mirror
  • Making repeated claims that they’ve already eaten, or they’ll be going out to eat somewhere else to avoid eating at home
  • Cooking big meals for other people but eating little or none of the food themselves
  • Only eating low-calorie foods, like celery or lettuce
  • Refusing to eat in public places, like restaurants
  • The use of “pro-anorexia” websites

Read More: How Depression Is Related With Eating Disorder?

Eating Disorders Treatment

Our child nutritionists work closely with our Gastroenterology and Psychiatry departments to offer a holistic treatment to combat this disorder. Although treatment for eating disorders is available, recovery can take a long time. Moreover, the affected person must want to get better, and the support of family and friends is invaluable.

Eating Disorder Treatment Dubai usually involves monitoring a person’s physical health while helping them deal with the underlying psychological causes. It may involve:

●     Self-Help Manuals and Books

Using self-help books and manuals under the guidance of a therapist or another healthcare professional can help treat eating disorders.

●     Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

CBT focuses on transforming the way a person thinks about a situation, which will affect how they act.

●     Interpersonal Psychotherapy

It is a talking therapy that focuses on relationship-based issues, which may be the underlying cause of a food disorder.

●     Dietary Counseling

It is also a talking therapy to help a person maintain a healthy diet.

●     Psychodynamic Therapy or Cognitive Analytic Therapy (CAT)

CAT focuses on how individuals’ personalities and life experiences influence their thoughts, feelings, relationships, and behavior.

●     Family Therapy

It involves the entire family discussing how the eating disorder has affected them and their relationships.

●     Medication

Sometimes a nutritionist may also prescribe medication to treat a food disorder.

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Child Nutrition and Eating Disorders FAQs

Can babies have eating disorders?

Yes, babies can have eating disorders. Infantile anorexia nervosa is an eating disorder that is common in infants and children. Small appetite and poor weight gain are indications of this disorder.

Can a 4-year-old have anorexia?

Yes, a 4-year-old child can have anorexia. The child may suffer from infantile anorexia, which can be easily detected if the child refuses food and has a small appetite.

What can cause eating disorders?

The exact cause of the eating disorder is still unknown. However, they can be caused by specific genetic and biological conditions. Emotional and psychological health can also lead to eating disorders.

Can a 12-year-old have anorexia?

Yes, anorexia can affect both young girls and boys. This condition makes them think that they are overweight when they are underweight.

Who is most likely to have an eating disorder?

An eating disorder can affect almost anyone. Teenagers and young adults are more prone to develop this disorder. Many people are diagnosed with an eating disorder after later adulthood.

Consult an Expert

If your child has an eating disorder, you must consult a child nutrition expert. We have several experts at the Euromed Clinic Center, offering effective Eating Disorder Treatment in Dubai. Please schedule an appointment with our experts by giving us a call or filling the online form.

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Dr. Bahjat Balbous

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