Red Flags and Taboos
Eating Disorder Red Flags
More than 8 million Americans suffer from eating disorders, many of which develop in adolescence, says Marlene Schwartz, Ph.D., codirector of the Yale Center for Eating and Weight Disorders. "Parents need to watch their kids for signs of a problem." If you notice any of the following red flags, make an appointment with your child's doctor:
Kitchen Table Taboos
- Skips meals, makes excuses for not eating or eats very little.
- Food disappears from the kitchen, or you find hidden treats or used wrappers.
- Completely avoids "unhealthy" foods, even as a special treat (like cake at a party), or obsesses over calories or nutrition facts.
- Leaves the table immediately after meals to purge in the bathroom or runs the shower at odd times. Red eyes and frequent sore throats can also indicate forced vomiting.
Forget old-school phrases that your mom used to say to entice you to eat those veggies. Dr. McAllister explains why.
- "Clean your plate." Forcing your children to finish everything may teach them to ignore their own hunger and satiety signals.
- "If you have a snack, you'll spoil your dinner." Providing fruits, veggies, and yogurt for snack options will help your kids get essential nutrients.
- “Eat your broccoli so you can have ice cream." Using dessert as a reward sets your kids up for a lifetime of overeating because it makes them associate feelings of acceptance, approval, and comfort with food.