What young people find when looking for fitness information can be very problematic. They are likely to come across harmful “slimming” and “seizure” messages celebrating lean or sculpted bodies, or even sites that encourage messy eating behavior. Worse yet, the algorithms record online research information and are “deliberately designed to deliver harmful weight loss content to users who already struggle with body image,” such as advertisements for unsafe dietary supplements. said Dr Austin.
When to worry
With so many forces contributing to teen body dissatisfaction and messy eating behavior, how do parents know when to worry?
Parents should be alarmed, said Dr Kaye, “if your child suddenly loses 10 to 20 pounds, becomes a secret to eating, or you see food disappearing,” because becoming stealthy about what, how and when to eat is a problem. common phenomenon. in anorexia, bulimia and other eating disorders.
Experts agree that adults should be on the lookout for behaviors that deviate from previous norms, like suddenly skipping family meals or refusing to eat whole category foods, like carbohydrates or processed foods. Also of concern is the teenager who develops fixations such as carefully counting calories, obsessively exercising, or hoarding food, which can be a sign of binge eating disorder. bulimic. Parents should also pay special attention, said Dr Accurso, if teens express a lot of guilt or anxiety about food or eating, or feel unhappy or uncomfortable with their bodies. .
According to Dr Bhatnagar, viewing eating disorders as a “white girl’s disease” may prevent adolescents who are not white girls from seeking help or being properly screened for disorders. feeding by health professionals, although eating disorders occur regularly in both sexes. and all ethnic groups.
“Boys have the same issues,” Dr Bhatnagar said, “but straight boys can talk about body image a little differently. They tend to speak in terms of getting fit, lean, or bodybuilding. “
Dr Austin also noted that it is common to see high rates of eating disorders in lesbian, gay and bisexual youth of all genders as well as transgender and gender diverse youth.