What are eating problems?

Many children have problems with eating at some time in their lives.

These problems can range from not liking certain foods
(which happens to most people),
to serious eating problems
which may come from medical or emotional troubles.

How can eating problems start?

Scientists think eating problems can start in a lot of ways.
Some scientists think that you are born with them.
Others believe your eating problems are learned
from people around you and people who are famous,
for example wanting to be like very thin fashion models.

Also, people who don't feel in control of their lives turn to eating,
as it's one thing they do have power over.

Eating problems can also start because of other problems,
such as unhappiness at home or school, someone you know dying,
or a mixture of these and other things.


What is anorexia?

It is a medical condition
and its proper name is anorexia nervosa.

People with anorexia nervosa avoid eating and lose a lot of weight.
They often feel fat, even when they are very thin.

They may use other ways of staying thin,
such as taking laxative tablets
(which is dangerous and makes you go to the toilet more often)
or by doing too much exercise.

They can become very weak,
and without special help some people with anorexia can die.

What is bulimia?

It is also a medical condition and its proper name is bulimia nervosa.

People with bulimia eat lots of food (called binge eating)
and then make themselves sick to get rid of what they've eaten.

People with bulimia may not look underweight
and so can find it easy to hide their eating problems.

Binge eating and vomiting can eventually do
serious damage to the teeth, heart, kidneys and muscles.

What is compulsive eating?

This is when people eat much more than their bodies need,
for a long period of time.

Compulsive eating can also start from people
using food to comfort or distract themselves.

This can lead to someone being overweight
and having serious medical problems.


How many children have them?

Pollution from radiation can be caused by:

About one in 100 of teenage girls suffer from eating problems.
But some of them have them in a very small way.

But the older you get,
the more people tend to get eating problems.

One in 50 young women and one in 500 young men
suffer from anorexia and bulimia.

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