New Report Focuses on Eating Disorders in Children and Teens

AAP committee provides recommendations for identifying, managing the disorders

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 1 (HealthDay News) -- A new report discusses the diagnostic criteria and initial evaluation recommended in pediatric patients with disordered eating. The report has been published online Nov. 29 in Pediatrics.

David Rosen, M.D., of the University of Michigan Health System in Ann Arbor, and colleagues from the American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Adolescence submitted a clinical report discussing the various issues that surround disordered eating in children and adolescents. They outline the initial evaluation and careful monitoring that these patients require and the range of treatment options available.

The researchers note that the number of children and adolescents with eating disorders has increased steadily since the 1950s; that the incidence of childhood obesity has increased over the last decade, placing greater emphasis on diets and weight loss in this population; and that the prevalence of eating disorders is increasing in progressively younger children. They also encourage pediatricians to advocate for policies and legislation that provide appropriate services for pediatric eating disorder patients.

"Primary care pediatricians can help families and children learn to apply the principles of proper nutrition and physical activity and to avoid an unhealthy emphasis on weight and dieting. In addition, pediatricians can screen to detect the early onset of disordered eating and be careful to avoid seemingly innocuous statements (such as 'you could stand to lose a little weight') that are sometimes reported by patients to have triggered the onset of their eating disorder," the authors write.

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