How to Prevent Anorexia

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People with anorexia nervosa starve themselves to obtain a "perfect" body. They truly feel it's not possible to be too thin and describe themselves as fat, no matter how thin they become. Symptoms of anorexia, other than starvation, include calorie counting, extreme exercise regimes, use of vomiting or diuretics to loose weight and extreme anxiety of gaining weight. There are some things you can try to prevent anorexia.

  • Start steps to prevent anorexia when children are young. Teach children positive body images, especially girls who may feel like diet and exercise will give them a model's body. Teach children to eat and exercise for health, not to have a "perfect" body. Do not encourage dieting, unless children are significantly overweight.

  • Watch teens carefully. While anorexia cuts across class and race lines, it is more prevalent amongst over-achieving, perfectionist type girls. Listen to your child if they start claiming they're fat, especially if they're not. To help prevent anorexia, make sure diets are responsible and don't allow teenagers to exercise to extreme levels.

  • Provide your child with a non-judgmental ear so she can come to you to discuss fears and anxieties. Children with open communications with their parents are less likely to suffer from anorexia.

  • Watch the terms how you describe other people's bodies, especially strangers. Noting the size and shape of other people, especially in derogatory terms, can make children fearful of how others perceive their bodies. They don't want people talking about them as you are talking about others.

  • Do not tease anyone about their bodies, even in fun. Teenagers are extremely sensitive and many don't like being laughed at.

Tips & Warnings

  • Contact your pediatrician if you have the slightest hint that your child has anorexia nervosa.

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