Things to think about
- It is not unusual for young people to diet, or to consider dieting, at some point during adolescence.
- A change in a child or young person's pattern of eating is likely to be a passing phase.
However, in a minority of cases the pattern may persist and start to become harmful. It is important to help these children and young people as early as possible.
Warning signs of Anorexia
Anorexia is where people try to keep their weight as low as possible by limiting what they eat and/or doing too much exercise. People with Anorexia often think they are overweight even when they are very underweight.
The NHS website outlines some warning signs that might indicate that someone has Anorexia:
- dramatic weight loss - children or young people with anorexia may gain less weight than expected and may be smaller than others of the same age, and puberty and the associated growth spurt may be delayed.
- lying about how much and when they've eaten, or how much they weigh
- avoiding eating with others
- cutting their food into small pieces or eating very slowly to disguise how little they are eating
- trying to hide how thin they are by wearing loose or baggy clothes.
More signs to be aware of, in an educational setting, are outlined on the Beat website at:
More information about Anorexia is provided by Beat at: www.beateatingdisorders.org.uk/types/anorexia.
Who to contact if you are concerned that a child or young person may have Anorexia
If you are a parent or carer, please contact your GP.
If you are a professional:
Supporting someone with an eating disorder
CARED Scotland is for parents and carers of young people (aged up to 25) in Scotland who have recently received a diagnosis of an eating disorder, and are about to start or have just started treatment: https://www.caredscotland.co.uk/.