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Monday, July 21, 2008

Young Children and Feeding and Eating Disorders

Children with eating disorders are characterised as having eating and feeding disturbances in their eating behaviour. In young children, this includes Pica, Rumination Disorder and Feeding and Eating of infancy or Early childhood. Other disorders such as Bulima Nervosa and Anorexia Nervosa would only develop in older children.

A child with this disorder can be described as having a persistent consumption of non-nutritive substance such as dirt, hair, bugs, pebbles, etc. Such a behaviour is developmentally inappropriate. However, there should be no aversion to food.

The onset is usually between 12 and 24 months of age, with remission during childhood. Such a disorder occurs more in children that lack or have little adult supervision, or are mentally retarded.

Rumination Disorder
This disorder is much more common in children than in adults. It has the characteristic of repeated regurgitation of partially digested food, which is then chewed, spat out, and swallowed without having any nausea and retching.

This disorder can be potentially fatal if the child becomes malnourished, loses excess weight, or does not gain enough weight. Its onset is between three to 12 months of age. Such behaviour is not due to any medical condition, such as gastrointestinal illness and esophageal reflux, nor is it a result of mental disorders.

Feeding Disorders of Infancy or Early Childhood

The essential characteristic of this disorder is the persistent failure to eat adequately, which causes either weight loss, or difficulties in gaining weight. As with the Rumination Disorder, this disorder is not a result of any medical causes or mental disorders. It has to occur for at least one month.

Children require sufficient nutrients for efficient growth of their bodies and brains. In other words, survival needs are the most important for growing children.

Therefore, when a child misses out on this important milestone, it could cause cognitive problems (such as slow brain growth, which in turn causes slow development), and health problems due to irregular consumption of food or inappropriate items and deficiency in important minerals.

In the emotional aspect, if the child is not able to meet his basic needs, he may experience distress which may in turn cause stress, anxiety or other psychological or behavioural problems later.

What Parents Can Do

* Monitor the child's consumption of food.

* Avoid using force or pressure on the child, which may cause more damage.

* Take the child for professional assesment and consultation if the problem persists and he does not improve his condition with time.

* If the child appears to be weak, sick or in danger, take him immediately to seek medical attention.

Do check out my other post on children and healthy eating habits.

10 food safety tips for our young ones

Fast Food at Home

Encouraging Healthy Eating Habits for Children

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Blogger Jaanvi said...

Yet another good and informative article from you.

July 24, 2008 at 4:01 PM  
Blogger Jaanvi said...

Hi bubbles
Thanks for coming by. You are in my list of favorites.:)
I hope to exchange links with you.

July 25, 2008 at 3:07 PM  
Anonymous melissa said...

Wow what a well written, and informative article. Lots of great info, and tips. Good job

July 28, 2008 at 7:07 PM  
Blogger Jenny said...

It's so easy to forget to do the little things that make such a BIG difference. Great advice!

August 4, 2008 at 12:15 AM  

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