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Your Child's Weight

If you're concerned about your child's weight, you're in good company. Since the 1960s, the number of overweight kids in the United States has nearly doubled and the number of overweight adolescents has nearly tripled. Today, 10% of 2- to 5-year-olds and more than 15% of children between the ages of 6 and 19 are overweight, which puts them at risk for disease and low self-esteem. Eating disorders are on the rise among young people as well. Keep reading to learn more about weight and kids, and healthy ways to manage weight for the entire family.

Underweight Kids

Eating disorders are on the rise among children and teens. Today, an increasing number of kids are overweight, which puts them at risk for a disease and low self esteem.Be aware of the teen who gains too little weight, especially the teenage girl who begins to lose weight rapidly yet still complains she is fat. Young girls may worry about the physical changes that puberty brings, partly in response to society's emphasis on thinness. Full hips and breasts may make them feel "fat," and they can get caught up in behavior patterns known as eating disorders.

Some girls become obsessed with body weight and image. They will eat very small amounts of food - inadequate amounts to support normal growth and health. Some refuse to eat at all. This condition is known as anorexia nervosa. Other teens, again mostly girls, practice binge-and-purge behavior, known as bulimia. Both conditions are potentially life threatening. If you suspect either condition, talk to your child and seek medical treatment from a doctor or registered dietitian.

Teenage boys are prone to nutritional problems as well. Many adolescent boys yearn to be bigger or heavier. Beware of nutritional supplements that promise more muscles. If a teen is eating properly and consuming the right amount of a variety of foods, nutritional supplements are just a waste of money. If you are concerned about your teenager's eating habits, talk with your child's doctor. Counseling is often an effective way to get kids back on track.

next: Eating Disorders Are the Toughest Challenge for Our Counselors
~ eating disorders library
~ all articles on eating disorders

APA Reference
Gluck, S. (2009, January 10). Your Child's Weight, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2020, May 27 from https://www.healthyplace.com/eating-disorders/articles/your-childs-weight

Last Updated: January 14, 2014

Medically reviewed by Harry Croft, MD

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