Binge Eating Disorder and Children

Kids Staying Active and Eat Healthy

Contributor: Crystal Karges, MS, RDN, IBCLC Special Projects Coordinator at Eating Disorder Hope/Addiction Hope

Children often exhibit slight variations with their eating habits as they grow and develop.  For example, if a child is experiencing a growth spurt, they will likely eat more than usual to help support their energy needs for growing.  Similarly, if a child is sick, experiencing periods of inactivity, or simply growing at a slower rate, they may not eat as much compared to other times in their lives.  However a child’s eating habits may vary, growth rate should be maintained along the same trajectory.

Children Should Grow Naturally

If at any point a child has deterred from their normal growth curve or has exhibited abnormal eating patterns, it is important to seek out professional support for assessment, intervention, and treatment.  Often times, eating disorders are not identified in children until the illnesses have progressed into a more severe level.  Anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge eating disorder are all types of eating disorders that children can be susceptible to developing.

family on a camping trip, the father,mother and son baking sausaWhat are some signs and symptoms to be aware of in regards to the development of binge eating disorder?  Binge eating disorder involves many complex factors and is not simply overindulging here or there or having a lack of self control.  Many risk factors are associated with binge eating disorder.  Many parents may mistakenly believe that their child must be overweight to struggle with binge eating disorder, but this is not necessarily the case.  Signs that parents should be aware of including the consumption of unusually large quantities of food, continuing to eat food when not hungry, hoarding or stashing food, eating in secret and alone, eating rapidly in a short amount of time, and feeling disgusted, ashamed, and guilty for eating habits.

If any of these above described behaviors are observed in a child, it is critical to seek out professional treatment and guidance.  Working with an eating disorder specialist who is trained in pediatrics can be a helpful resource in assessing for and diagnosing an eating disorder, such as binge eating disorder.  By connecting with treatment early in the course of the eating disorder, a child can have the best opportunity to recover and move forward with healing.

Community Discussion – Share your thoughts here!

Are you a professional who treats children with binge eating disorder?  What are early signs and symptoms that parents can be aware of that may indicate that their child is struggling with binge eating disorder?

The opinions and views of our guest contributors are shared to provide a broad perspective of eating disorders.  These are not necessarily the views of Eating Disorder Hope, but an effort to offer a discussion of various issues by different concerned individuals.  We at Eating Disorder Hope understand that eating disorders result from a combination of environmental and genetic factors.  If you or a loved one are suffering from an eating disorder, please know that there is hope for you, and seek immediate professional help.

Last Updated & Reviewed By: Jacquelyn Ekern, MS, LPC on October 9, 2015. Published on