Eating Disorders in Teenage Kids
A new study just released by the Canadian Medical Association Journal (Sept/01) found that 27% of girls age 12-18 have disordered eating behaviours such as binging and purging. They consider this number to be alarming.
What should trouble us even more is the fact that the behaviour is appearing in younger and younger girls. Some as young as 12 have turned to self-induced vomiting as a means of losing weight. These problems used to be the sole domain of young women and college girls but children are now adopting these dangerous behaviours in their drive for thinness.
The research also shows that as many as 4 girls in 5 of normal height and weight want to shed pounds. Many diet even before they reach puberty. Among 12 year olds, researchers found 9% of girls engaged in binge eating, 6% in purging (self-induced vomiting), 1.1% used diet pills and o.4% used laxatives or diuretics to lose weight.
The story is even worse for 15 year olds with 22% engaged in binge eating, 11% in purging, 4% used diet pills, 2.2% used laxatives, and 1% used diuretics. Many girls with severe eating disorders die of organ failure or suicide. Girls who feel they fail to measure up to the cultural standards of beauty sometimes find death a suitable option.