Health Watch — Kids' Stuff: Body Image

Health Watch is a Public Service of the Office of News and Publications  and is intended to provide general information only and should not replace the advice of a medical professional. You should contact your physician if you have questions about any of these topics.

This week on Health Watch, we’ve been talking about some health issues that affect children. It seems like the young women we see in the movies, on television and in advertisements are getting thinner and thinner. As a result, doctors are seeing more girls with eating disorders — and they’re seeing them younger.

Dr. Stephanie Setliff, a psychologist at UT Southwestern Medical Center who specializes in eating disorders, says girls about age 13 used to be the youngest ones diagnosed with eating disorders, but she now sees girls as young as 7. Media images of ultra-thin stars may add to pressure on girls, but there are other factors, including genetics, biology, personality and family environment. Signs of eating disorders include an obsession with food or exercise, wearing clothing that disguises the body, spending less time with friends, spending a lot of time in the bathroom, dieting and changes in sleeping patterns.  


February 2007

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