June 29, 2006

ED increase in Children

Eating Disorders Increasing Among Children
Tuesday June 27, 10:37 am ET

Nation's Leading Eating Disorder Treatment Center, Remuda Ranch, States Nearly 20 Percent of its Patients Report Onset of Eating Disorder Before the Age of 12

"We have seen a 300 percent increase in the number of calls from preteen patients," said Amy Gerberry, program director and therapist at Remuda Ranch's children's program. "Eating disorders are increasing rapidly in preteen girls. It's because of our culture's obsession with dieting and thinness."
"Children are being targeted with messages and products promoting diets and body image dissatisfaction," adds Gerberry. "There are more and more sexualized and objectified images of children in the media today than in the past."
Gerberry also adds there is a declining age of menarche (the onset of menstruation) in American females. Menarche can be a trigger for eating disorders in girls who are afraid to grow up.
Remuda Ranch, a leading treatment facility for women and girls suffering from anorexia, bulimia and related issues, opened a treatment facility specifically for girls under age 13 two years ago. At Remuda's children's center, the comprehensive inpatient program makes a lasting impact on young lives.
"We are seeing patients come in as young as seven and eight years old," says Gerberry. "Our program is tailored specifically to the needs of children. Therapy is much more experiential and hands-on, with an active equine program that the girls love. There's also lots of involvement with the family."
Remuda Ranch believes the following are signs of an eating disorder in children:
-- Weight loss -- Increased exercise (to an excessive level) -- Increased isolation -- Decreased desire to participate in social activities -- Obsession with weight and body -- Increase in secretive, sneaky behavior
"I recommend parents talk openly about fears and behaviors," adds Gerberry. "If there is concern, consult with a therapist."

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