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How to spot signs of teen eating disorders

(NC) Along with low energy and moodiness, the fear of looking fat and feelings of inadequacy are common among youth—and this puts them at risk for developing eating disorders.

It is reported today that one in three girls aged 14 to 18 uses dangerous weight-management practices. As a result, eating disorders have become the third most chronic illness among adolescent girls.

“Every day can be different with a pre-teen or teenager, and recognizing changing behaviour patterns can be a challenge,” says Merryl Bear, director of the National Eating Disorder Information Centre (NEDIC).

It isn't always obvious who is battling an eating disorder, says Karin Jasper, a clinical mental health specialist at the Southlake Hospital's Eating Disorder Program and one of the panelists. “It may be a 10-year-old boy, that teenager on the bus, or a girl new to Canada struggling to find her way who turns to managing food and weight to feel a sense of control,” Jasper says.

One of the best ways to learn about the warning signs of an eating disorder is online at www.nedic.ca. “By knowing the signs of trouble, a parent or teacher can be a lifesaver for these children,” says Jasper.

The website offers a wealth of information on the signs and symptoms of an eating disorder, plus the treatments available, and how to get help.

Or, on the toll-free helpline at 1-866-633-4220, qualified staff and volunteers will help individuals who prefer to discuss their concerns. The line is open Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. – 9 p.m. EST.

www.newscanada.com

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