Eating disorders have long been a serious problem among people of all ages. However, this disease usually begins somewhere in the pre-teen stages of life, and although many adolescent boys suffer with this disorder, it usually affects and is much more severe in young girls.

People who do suffer from an eating disorder like to place blame on factors such as television and family life-styles. Although these situations do influence eating disorders, the basis for this disease lies within the person whom it is affecting.

Most girls and boys who suffer from an eating disorder usually are unhappy with themselves and their own performance in life. With girls, eating disorders may arise if they do not succeed in activities such as cheerleading or gymnastics, or if they do not seem to attract the attention of boys. Many girls believe that they cannot be beautiful unless they are thin, sometimes due to naturally thin girls that surround them both in real life and in fashion. For boys, causes may also result from sports that are weight orientated like wrestling.

There are two types of eating disorders called anorexia nervosa, and bulimia nervosa. The person who is anorexic will place herself on what she considers to be a “strict diet.” This diet usually involves cutting down calorie intake to an absurd level. The average person should consume around 1500 calories a day. An anorexic person will gauge her daily intake anywhere between a few hundred to less than 100 calories.

The bulimic person will usually try to restrict her diet. However, if she feels that she has eaten too much, she will induce vomiting or over-consume laxatives. Frequently, this sets off a pattern of binge eating and purging.

What Parents can do

There is a way of preventing your teenager being susceptible to these diseases. Allow your teenager to be on a diet, but monitor the diet plan with her.

If you notice that your teenager is concerned with his weight, do not brush it off as a phase. Instead, sit down with him and work out a dietary and exercise plan together. Help by purchasing healthy foods such as fruit, raw vegetables and salads. Show your teenager that it is OK to eat - it is just the types of foods he consumes that he must be careful about.

Understand that this is a mental disease, and grounding or punishing your teenager for having these disorders will only make things worse. If you believe your child may be suffering from an eating disorder seek professional help immediately. As the parent in situations like these, you may feel undermined or helpless, but understand that this disease greatly affects your teenager’s health and must be dealt with as soon as possible.

Author's Bio: 

Christina Botto, author of Help Me With My Teenager! A Step-by-Step Guide for Parents that Works has been involved with helping parents and teenagers resolve complicated issues for more than 14 years, observing and developing parenting strategies. Her website Parenting A Teenager offers a variety of tools and resources to help parents of teenagers deal with issues they are struggling with.

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