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Eating Disorders and Anorexia Nervosa

The Child Advocate is devoted to children and the parents and professionals that work with them and advocate for them. Eating disorders have long been a problem for children, teens and their families. This relapse information is presented with links to other sites that may offer additional information. The information presented at this site is for general use only and is not intended to provide personal advice or substitute for the advice of a qualified professional. If you have questions about the information presented here, please consult a physician, the resources listed or other professional in your area.


Helpful Information

Celiac Disease Present in 1% of 5-Year-Olds in Study

(The Nemours Foundation) Celiac disease results from a sensitivity to a dietary protein (called gluten) found in wheat and certain other grains. The immune system’s abnormal response to this protein causes damage to the lining of the intestine, interfering with its ability to absorb nutrients. How common is celiac disease? Researchers from the University of Colorado School of Medicine in Denver examined the prevalence of celiac disease in a group of 5-year-old children. Three hundred eighty-six 5-year-old children participated in this 5-year study of the prevalence of celiac disease. At birth, the umbilical cord blood of all the children was tested to determine the presence of a gene that may identify people at increased risk for developing celiac disease. Throughout the study, the children periodically underwent additional blood tests and if celiac disease was suspected, biopsies of the child’s intestinal tract were done to diagnose the disease. Within the general population, the risk for celiac disease among 5-year-olds was about 1%. The risk for celiac disease was higher in female children. In general, celiac disease was not recognized in children under 2.5 years. What This Means to You: Celiac disease affects one child out of every 100, according to the results of this study. If your child has any of the symptoms associated with celiac disease such as difficulty gaining weight, vomiting, diarrhea, fatigue, and irritability, talk to your child’s doctor. The good news? The symptoms of celiac disease can be eliminated if your child eats a gluten-free diet. Source: Edward J. Hoffenberg, MD; Todd MacKenzie, PhD; Katherine J. Barriga, MSPH; George S. Eisenbarth, MD, PhD; Fei Bao, MD; Joel...

Fighting Anorexia

Fighting Anorexia: No One to Blame Dec. 5, 2005 Newsweek issue – “The age of their youngest patients has slipped to 9 years old, and doctors have begun to research the roots of this disease. Anorexia is probably hard-wired, the new thinking goes, and the best treatment is a family affair.” In summary: “At a National Institute of Mental Health conference last spring, anorexia’s youngest victims were a small part of the official agenda—but they were the only thing anyone talked about in the hallways…” “Six months ago the Eating Disorders Program at Penn State began to treat the youngest ones, too—20 of them so far, some as young as 8.” “Doctors now compare anorexia to alcoholism and depression, potentially fatal diseases that may be set off by environmental factors such as stress or trauma, but have their roots in a complex combination of genes and brain chemistry.” “In a 2000 study published in The American Journal of Psychiatry, researchers at Virginia Commonwealth University studied 2,163 female twins and found that 77 of them suffered from symptoms of anorexia.” “Anorexia is a killer—it has the highest mortality rate of any mental illness, including depression. About half of anorexics get better. About 10 percent of them die. The rest remain chronically ill…” From the report in Newsweek: “Fighting Anorexia: No One to Blame” By Peg Tyre...

Feeding Disorders of Infants and Toddlers

Feeding Disorders of Infants and Toddlers: Infantile Anorexia  Alice Lawrence Penn State College of Medicine 2003   Feeding disorders can occur in infants secondary to many different causes. These disorders can lead to failure to thrive in the infant, and thus associated with significant developmental risks. Failure to thrive is generally defined as a child whose weight is below the 5th percentile for age or whose weight is <80% of the ideal body weight for that age, and is present for at least 1-month duration. It may be caused by a wide variety of disorders, organic and/or non-organic in nature.   DSM-IV Diagnostic Criteria    – Feeding Disorder in Infancy or Early Childhood Feeding disturbance as manifested by persistent failure to eat adequately with significant failure to gain weight or significant loss of weight over at least 1 month. The disturbance is not due to an associated gastrointestinal or other general medical condition (e.g., esophageal reflux). The disturbance is not better accounted for by another developmental disorder (e.g., Rumination Disorder) or by lack of available food. The onset is before the age of 6 years.   The broad scope of the DSM-IV diagnostic criteria does not differentiate between different types of infant/toddler feeding disorders. Three sub classifications of developmental feeding disorders have been described (Chatoor, Schaefer, Dickson, and Egan, 1984): 1) Feeding Disorder of Homeostasis, 2) Feeding Disorder of Attachment, and 3) Infantile Anorexia (Feeding Disorder of Separation).   A Feeding Scale for Research and Clinical Practice to Assess Mother-Infant Interactions in the First Three Years of Life (Article by Chatoor, Getson, Menvielle, Brasseaux, O’Donnell, Rivera, and Mrazek; 1997) The...

Relapse in Anorexia

Approaches to the Reduction of Relapse Rates in Persons with Anorexia Nervosa

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