Back to School and Eating Disorders

5 Questions to Ask When You Do Your Back to School Check-ups!

Parents are getting ready for their children’s re-entry to school. Back-to- School sales abound. Primary Care Physician and Pediatrician Offices are full of young folks getting their annual physicals and immunizations.

While you’re checking in with patients’ weight, height and BMI, be sure to ask about changes in eating habits. This is a good time to check in with potential Eating Disorder Screening Questions. Every year, the age of young girls and boys decreases where Eating Disordered Behaviors are concerned.

The latest statistics for pre-teens with full-blown Eating Disorders is staggering! Research indicates that there are about 3% of this age group (8-12) that have a diagnosable Eating Disorder.

Although anorexia nervosa typically appears during adolescence, a disturbing number of cases have been appearing in young children as early as age 7 or 8. In young children, eating disorders are often associated with depression as well as obsessive-compulsive symptoms.

Here are five questions to ask:

  1. Ask for a 24-hour recall of food eaten (verified by a parent).
  2. How do you feel about eating meat/dessert/bread/dairy products?
  3. If you could change your body what would you change?
  4. Does anyone tease you about your appearance?
  5. How much physical activity do you get in a week?

Did you know that EDTC in Albuquerque has the most Credentialed Eating Disorder Specialists and Dietitian in all of NM? We also have Higher Level of Care Programs for all the Eating Disorders. We have been in the Eating Disorders Treatment business for over 100 years (combining the years of experience of our current clinical staff)!

We are opening an IOP for pre-teens, another first for this area.

So, while you’re doing those Back-to-School check-ups, remember that being of healthy body for school is also about having a healthy mind. Nourishment with food is the first order of treatment for young people with Eating Disorders.

We are here to help, feel free to call us!


Contributed by Ann Flosdorf, Clinical Director of IOP and PHP



Eating Disorders Diagnoses That Are Commonly Seen in Young Children: (Defined by DSM-5)

  • Avoidant/ Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID): Lack of interest in food, limited diet due to sensory issues, or food refusal related to fears of aversive experiences (choking, vomiting)
  • Other Specified Feeding and Eating Disorder (OSFED)Dysregulated eating that does not fit all diagnostic criteria of AN, BN, or BED
  • Anorexia Nervosa (AN)Significantly low body weight, intense fear of gaining weight, distorted body image, and persistent behavior that interferes with weight gain. (Many children meet these criteria except fear of weight gain and/or distorted body image and may be diagnosed with OSFED.)
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