I came across this article on CNN titled Eating Disorders Increasing for Children and Teens and although at first I was surprised, I later realized that it is not unexpected at all. The article examines not only the increase in prevalence of eating disorders among males, younger children, and minorities but also the increase in obesity. We are now seeing both an increase in eating disorders and obesity, making it even more difficult to address the issue of weight among children and teens.
It is evident that children and teens are at time in their lives when they need guidance in this area and yet addressing the issue can have serious consequences if not done in the right manner. We can examine the situation from the point of view of a parent with a slightly overweight, under active child who is concerned with the health of their child. In an attempt to address the issue of a healthy lifestyle, the child may feel excessive pressure to be thin and resort to drastic measures to be thin.
After reading this article I realized that there is a great need for both awareness and support for teens and children in this area. Not only is there a great need for awareness and support, but also for the right kind of support. Health care professionals, parents, and teachers all need to be providing information to these children that encourages healthy eating, builds self-esteem without enabling excessive dieting. I believe that without this type of intervention, the problem is only going to get worse as children and teens are bombarded with images of the need for perfection.