Sunday, April 19, 2009

Children with Eating Disorders: as young as 5 years old

Today I read a newspaper article about children as young as 5 who are suffering from an eating disorder to the extent that hospital intervention is required.

These new findings are clearly disturbing.

According to Dr Sloane Madden from The Children's Hospital at Westmead in Sydney, there is currently a 50% increase in the demand for beds amongst adolescents with eating disorders - and the condition is now increasingly prevalent amongst girls and boys aged 10-12 and even younger.

Dr Madden, whom I had the pleasure of interviewing for my third book 'Why Can't I Look the Way I Want; Overcoming Eating Issues', which will be published by Allen & Unwin in June, fears that the number of cases is expected to rise, unless there is a shift in the media's obsession with fat and weight.

"I think that there needs to be a move away from this focus on weight and numbers and body fat, and a focus on healthy eating and exercise,'' Dr Madden says.

And I vehemently agree. These illnesses are hurting our children - in some cases, killing them. The media needs to take responsibility and start promoting healthy body image instead of sensationalising the number on the scale. As a parent, I take exception to the fact that emaciated models are portrayed as 'healthy'. Nothing could be further from the truth.

It's time to nurture our children and build their self esteem, instead of encouraging self criticism to the extent that it encourages self destructive behaviour resulting in hospitalisation, and debilitating conditions that could lead to death.

This is tragic beyond comprehension.

To read the article, go here:,22049,25354792-5001028,00.html

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