Childhood Obesity

“Mom, can I PLEEEEASE have more brussels sprouts?!”

While we probably shouldn’t hold our breaths waiting for Junior to beg us for every healthy food, a new national campaign for kids aims to get America’s children to start making wiser choices about food, and take a bite out of the childhood obesity epidemic – the #1 health threat facing the nation’s youngsters today. Experts estimate that by 2010, more than half of our children will be overweight.

Find expert help for kids at www.TeenCentral.Net, a unique, free problem-solving Web source that provides clinically screened help to defuse stresses leading to eating disorders and other problems.

divider Does my child have an eating disorder? 

Questions from Michael Levine, Ph.D.

  • Is your child preoccupied with weight, food, calories and dieting to the extent that it consistently intrudes on conversations and interferes with other activities?
  • Does your child have an excessive, rigid exercise routine in which he/she has a need to “burn off” calories regardless of weather, fatigue, illness or injury?
  • Does your child withdraw from or avoid numerous activities because of weight and shape concerns?
  • Does your child express anxiety about being fat that does not diminish as weight is lost?
  • Does your child show evidence of self-induced (often secretive) vomiting such as: bathroom smells or messes; rushing to the bathroom immediately after a meal and returning with bloodshot eyes; or swollen glands that cause a “chipmunk” facial appearance?
  • Have you found evidence (wrappers, advertisements, coupons) of the use of laxatives, diuretics, enemas or products that induce vomiting?
  • Have you seen evidence of binge-eating including hoarding and/or stealing food, or consumption of huge amounts of food inconsistent with his or her weight?
  • Have you seen alternating periods of severely restrictive dieting and overeating that may be accompanied by dramatic weight fluctuations of 10 pounds or more?
  • Has your daughter experienced inexplicable problems with menstruation and/or fertility?
  • Does your child show extreme concern about appearance as a defining feature of self-esteem, often accompanied by contradictory, perfectionist thinking (e.g., either I am “thin and good” or “gross and bad”)?
  • Is your child pale, or does he or she complain or show evidence of lightheadedness or loss of equilibrium not accounted for by other medical problems?

If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, your child may have an eating disorder that requires professional help.



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