For Obese Kids, Weight Loss Can Sometimes Lead to Eating Disorders

Problems like anorexia may go undiagnosed or be disregarded, case studies show

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Eating disorders are about low self-esteem and self-efficacy, and the effort to exert control over food intake is a manifestation of other underlying issues. All of these matters are apt to be compounded by obesity, he said.

"Second, while weight loss in the context of obesity may appear beneficial, there is a point at which the methods used -- or the extremes reached -- may indicate an eating disorder," Katz said.

"Effective treatment of obesity cannot simply be about weight loss -- it must be about the pursuit of health," Katz said. "An emphasis on healthful behaviors is a tonic against both obesity and eating disorders. By placing an emphasis on diet and activity patterns for health and by focusing on strategies that are family based, we can address risk factors for both eating disorders and obesity."

More information

To learn more about obesity in children and teens, visit the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.

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