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Child Adolesc Psychiatr Clin N Am. 2002 Apr;11(2):185-99.

Eating disorders in school-aged children.

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Department of General Psychiatry, St. George's Hospital Medical School, Cranmer Terrace, London SW17 ORE, UK.


It is widely accepted that eating disorders do occur in children. There is a growing literature on childhood-onset AN, and it seems that the core behavioral, psychologic, and physical features are similar to those in adults. The differences between children and adults also must be taken into account, however. Because children have lower levels of body fat, they tend to become emaciated and suffer the effects of starvation for more quickly than adults, which must be taken into account when considering treatment. Although cases of childhood-onset BN have been reported, they are so rare that empirical research is difficult. Clinical features reported regarding the atypical childhood-onset eating disorders generally concur, although empirical testing of these features has yet to be developed. Theories as to why children develop these disorders need further development. The general consensus is that all childhood-onset eating disorders must be considered using a multidimensional model that takes into account physical, psychologic, social, and family factors in origin, assessment, and treatment.

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