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Eating disorders and adolescents

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Types of eating disorders

1.

Anorexia nervosa: characterised by restricted eating, loss of weight, and fear of putting on weight

2.

Bulimia nervosa: binge eating followed by compensatory attempts such as excessive exercising, vomitting, strict dieting; there's usually feelings of shame and loss of control

3.

Binge eating disorder: characterised by recurrent periods of binge eating, followed by feelings of guilt, disgust, and depression; no compensatory behaviours

Risk factors for eating disorders

1.

Psychological: personality, low self-esteem, perfectionism

2.

Social or environmental: being teased or bullied, peer pressure, major life changes, media and advertisements, cultural tendency

3.

Biological: physical developmental changes in adolescence, genetic or familial factors

Males also experience eating disorders

Females and males both experience different societal pressures about how they should look. Some males want to lose body fat but increase muscle mass, setting unrealistically thin standards as their goal.

Foster a healthy relationship with food

1.

Do not label food as ‘good' or ‘bad' as this sets up feelings of guilt when ‘bad' food are eaten.

2.

Understand that you would have different eating habits and might require more food during the growing phase.

3.

Eat when you are hungry and stop when you are full.

Feel good about your body

1.

Recognise and accept different body shapes and sizes, including your own

2.

Your body is functional and well-designed

3.

Engage in physical activity for health and enjoyment

4.

Listen to your body and be familiar with different physical feelings and experiences

Increase your self-esteem

1.

Express your needs and wants, understand the consequences and make your own decisions

2.

It's okay to say ‘no'

3.

Develop critical awareness of images and messages seen on media

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