Most parents are under the impression that anorexia and bulimia only affect female teenagers. This misconception may prove to be a fatal mistake. Eating disorders can affect male and female teenagers. The problem usually begins at the age of 13 to 14. However, some cases show that this problem is more rampant in the 17 to 18 age range. These diseases may lead to a serious mental illness or cause severe diseases to arise. Therefore, it is important to protect your children from eating disorders by being there to support their transition into adulthood. Here are ways that you can prevent the development of eating disorders in teens.
Teach Them the Value of Proper Nutrition
With the availability of fast food, many parents give in and allow their children to eat commercialized food daily. This may lead to obesity, heart ailments and other serious conditions. Teach your child to eat healthy to prevent him or her from becoming obese. Note that obesity is the most common reason children develop eating disorders. Help your child understand the value of a nutritious home-cooked meal over artificially enhanced fast food.
Exercise with Them
If your child is borderline obese, he or she may decide to take dieting to drastic proportions. You can avoid him or her from developing an eating disorder by imparting the value of proper exercise habits. When your child has made exercising a daily habit, he or she will not have to worry about packing extra pounds and will be less likely to binge and purge or refuse to eat.
Teach Them to Be Realistic
Many teenagers, especially females, pore over fashion magazines and aspire to look like the waif-like models. Explain to them that most images are airbrushed and digitally warped to achieve the perfect figure. It is also best to tell them that there is a percentage of models and celebrities who suffer from an eating disorder. This will help them understand that the condition can affect a wide range of young adults. It may also help if you showed them paparazzi pictures of actresses and actors that have not been digitally altered. This will allow your child to understand that their bodies are not as perfect as he or she was led to believe.
Take Them to a Nutritionist
If your child has body-image issues, taking him or her to a nutritionist to create a healthy diet plan should be your first option. This will make your child less likely to experiment with laxatives and diet pills. By coming up with a proper diet plan and exercise regimen, your child can battle his or her obesity without developing an eating disorder.
Eating disorders are serious and require immediate attention, once symptoms are spotted. The most important thing a parent can do is keep on the lookout for any warning signs. It is highly advised to talk to them but if you have difficulty making them understand, you can always find a help from the professionals.