News Articles: Eating Disorders

Milkshakes Medicine For Anorexic Teens

NEW YORK, April 4 (UPI) -- Parents are called on to feed their children high-calorie meals like milkshakes and macaroni and cheese in a therapy for anorexia nervosa, U.S. researchers say.

The therapy, known as behavioral family therapy, or the Maudsley Approach, calls on parents to supervise the eating habits of their anorexic child. The approach is being compared with a more established treatment known as Family Systems Therapy as part of an ongoing treatment study at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Westchester Division and five other centers nationally.

Both are outpatient therapies for adolescents ages 12-18.

"Anorexia is a life-threatening condition. Treating it early is very important since it is during the teenage years that this disorder usually takes hold," Dr. Katherine Halmi, founder of the Eating Disorders Program at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Westchester Division and professor of psychiatry at Weill Cornell Medical College, said in a statement.

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Vegetarianism Linked To Eating Disorder

(ABC) - Young people may prefer a vegetarian diet that's rich in fruits and vegetables. But a new study shows it could also put them at a higher risk for eating disorders including binge eating, taking diet pills or using laxatives to lose weight.

An estimated one in 200 American children is now a vegetarian, according to the latest government statistics.

Vegetarian diets are often quite healthy for kids, exposing them to a wider variety of beans, fruits and vegetables and cutting out the fat.

But a new study finds that some young people may be turning to
vegetarianism as a weight loss strategy and in rare cases, their dieting behavior can be dangerous.

Researchers from the University of Minnesota surveyed more than 2,500 adolescents about their eating habits.

Results showed that both current and former vegetarians were more likely to practice binge eating and to try risky dieting tactics such as vomiting after meals, and taking diet pills or laxatives.

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Eating Disorders Sending More American's To Hospital

The number of men and women hospitalised due to eating disorders that caused anemia, kidney failure, erratic heart rhythms or other problems rose 18 percent between 1999 and 2006, according to the latest News and Numbers from the Agency for Health care Research and Quality.

The federal agency's analysis also found that between 1999 and 2006:

- Hospitalizations for eating disorders rose most sharply for children under 12 years of age - 119 percent. The second steepest rise was for patients ages 45 to 64 - 48 percent.

- Hospitalisations for men also increased sharply - by 37 percent - but women continued to dominate hospitalizations for eating disorders (89 percent in 2006).

Admissions for anorexia, the most common eating disorder, remained relatively stable. People with anorexia typically lose extreme amounts of weight by not eating enough food, over-exercising, self-inducing vomiting, or using laxatives.

In contrast, hospitalisations for bulimia declined 7 percent. Bulimia - binge eating followed by purging by vomiting or use of laxatives - can lead to severe dehydration or stomach and intestinal problems.

Hospitalizations for less common eating disorders increased 38 percent. Those disorders include pica, an obsession with eating non-edible substances such as clay or plaster, and psychogenic vomiting, which is vomiting caused by anxiety and stress.

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Miss Georgia USA Discusses Bout With Anorexia

Kimberly Gittings is hoping that come April 19 in Las Vegas, she’ll be able to add her name to the list of kids from Lilburn who’ve done well (behind, most recently, fellow Parkview High grad Jeff Francoeur).

That’s when the Air Force brat, UGA student and Miss Georgia USA titleholder will compete for the Miss USA crown. We talked with Gittings about Iraq, her ancestral home of Korea and Michelle Obama’s arms.

Q: No disrespect, but how does a girl who battled anorexia wind up in the pageant circuit? It seems like the pressure to perform and conform to a certain body type would actually exacerbate the disorder.

A: I suffered with anorexia when I was in middle school and high school. I’m 5 feet 10 inches and I weighed 97 pounds. So my parents were on the verge of hospitalizing me. I had heart palpitations, my liver was having issues, my hair was falling out, my nails kept breaking off, my period stopped. What I did to my body when I was younger will [negatively] affect my chances when I’m older if I ever want to conceive kids. But actually, pageants were something of a healing process. They allowed me to talk about what I was going through. [In pageants] you pick a platform that you’re passionate about and you talk about these issues across your state. For me, that’s what I picked. It gives me drive.

Q: Do you feel you’ve conquered it, or are there moments when you think, “I want to win and I need to be as thin as possible so I won’t eat today?” Do you still have it or another eating disorder?

A: I do not. I know how to live healthy now. I do not ever want to be back in that place again. It took a lot of time, money, effort and tears to get over it. Now I love to eat.

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Eating Disorders On The Rise, Big Spike Among Children

A new report from the government Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality finds that the number of Americans hospitalized for eating disorders increased 18 per cent between 1999 and 2006.

Among children under age 12, the number more than doubled, but even middle-aged men and women are increasingly affected.

Many types of complications can land patients with eating disorders in the hospital, including kidney problems, anemia, and heart-rhythm disturbances.

In rare cases, patients even suffered life-threatening conditions such as total kidney or liver failure.

Anorexia and bulimia together accounted for more than half of the diagnoses, but they are not behind the rise in hospitalizations.

Read in full here.

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