Maybe there’s more to astrology than determining when you should ask your boss for a raise. New research shows that the month in which a child is born may affect their risk of having the eating disorder anorexia nervosa later in life. The study found people (in the U.K.) were 15% more likely to be anorexic if born between March and June and 20% less likely if in September or October.
More research should be conducted to determine if the results were a fluke or if anti-eating disorder initiatives should target those born in the spring.
In today’s media-driven world, kids are constantly exposed to pencil-thin models, actors, and singers. What can you do to help reduce the risk that your child will have an eating disorder?
- Minimize “fat” talk. If a child often hears their parents talking about how fat they are or someone else is, they may become more self-conscious of their own weight.
- Set the example. Appreciate all body sizes and avoid classifying foods as “good” or “bad.” Talk to your kids about what it means to be healthy with diet and exercise… and show them in your actions.
- Body distortion. Girls can be especially susceptible to eating disorders. If they start talking about “wanting to look like Barbie,” discuss how unrealistic that is.
- Internet encouragement. The internet has everything… including negative support groups that encourage eating disorders. Talk to your child about the dangers of unhealthy support.
- Discuss the cons. Eating disorders have a lot of negative side effects. Nutrition depletion can put their life at risk, requiring hospitalization. Excess vomiting can erode their teeth and esophagus. Bones can become frail, leading to osteoporosis at an early age.
- Get help. If you suspect your child has an eating disorder, find a psychologist that specializes in eating disorders in your area and don’t delay.