Young girls are notoriously preoccupied with thoughts about how they look. But for some girls the bar for beauty keeps moving higher and the place of self-acceptance becomes elusive.
Around 13 million Americans suffer from binge eating disorder and 10 million girls and women have anorexia or bulimia. One million American men experience anorexia or bulimia.
Astonishing Numbers in High School
Though men and women both suffer from eating disorders, the condition disproportionately plagues young girls. According to a 2009 survey conducted by the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention, one-third (33 percent) of high school girls believe they are fat. More than half (56 percent) said they were doing something to try and lose weight.
It isn’t uncommon for young ladies to view themselves with an overly critical eye, especially in terms of weight. Girls will cut calories and ramp up exercise in an effort to lower the number on the scale and change the pant size hanging in the closet. Parents should be aware of what is going on with their young daughters so that they can be ready to see a danger sign before it is too late.
If your daughter says she is dieting or suddenly starts drastically curtailing calories, or is constantly weighing herself, be alert. Especially if her dieting is accompanied by changes in behavior such as social withdrawal, regularly excusing herself from the meal table, or if she is super-fastidiousness about her appearance and personal space, it is possible that she is becoming disordered in her food relationship.
Drinking lots of water is another tell-tale sign. Girls who over-achieve academically can be vulnerable to the perfectionism which drives eating disorders.
Eating disorders can be deadly. Parents need to be alert to the signs. Catching the problem early can make the difference between life and death.