Daughters' eating disorders are often ignored

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Daughters' eating disorders are often ignored by parents

Scientists from the University of Dresden recently presented their frightening interim balance of a study on eating disorders: Many parents do not take their daughters' eating disorders seriously and even knowingly ignore them. About half of the parents of girls who were diagnosed with an eating disorder even refused a diagnostic interview offered to them by Dresden psychologists.

Parents sometimes react negatively to offers from psychologists For the study, which is to develop a family-based preventive program against anorexia, 6,000 questionnaires were sent to over 40 schools in Dresden. The target group was children in puberty between the ages of 11 and 17 and their parents. The questionnaire was designed to determine if there was a risk of an eating disorder. If this is the case, the children and parents are offered the opportunity to have a detailed discussion with experts. If the suspicion of an increased risk of eating disorders is confirmed, parents can take part in an internet-based preventive program.

It is unfortunate that only around 25 percent of the questionnaires were returned and filled out. Psychologists found that there was an increased risk of eating disorders and underweight in almost 150 girls and invited those affected and their parents to an interview. However, 50 percent of the parents did not accept the invitation, some with very harsh reactions: "I don't have time for that shit."

More and more children and adolescents get eating disorders Prof. Dr. Tilman Fürniss and Dr. Annabel Köchling from the Clinic for Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at the University Medical Center in Münster reports that about one in five adolescents between the ages of 11 and 17 are suspected of having an eating disorder. Clinic director Fürnis explains that even new years suffer from eating disorders today, while a few decades ago mainly adolescents between 14 and 16 were affected. In the meantime, about one in three girls and one in seven boys between the ages of 11 and 17 have reasonable grounds to suspect a pathological eating disorder.

The clinic director points out in this context that eating disorders should be taken seriously. Anorexia, for example, not only leads to extreme weight loss but also to a reduction in brain mass. "It shrinks by 20 to 30 percent and completely ceases to function in some areas," explains the expert. There are also serious effects on the cardiovascular system. (ag)

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Image: S. Hofschlaeger / pixelio.de

Author and source information

Video: Eating disorders through developmental, not mental, lens. Richard Kreipe. TEDxBinghamtonUniversity

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