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Kids with eating disorders avoid “treats” of the season
Be alert to children who are afraid to eat, touch, or be around candy.Eating Disorder Treatment Halloween is the black and orange day that inaugurates the season of food-centered holidays in our nation. Children and teens get dressed up in their favorite costumes and gather as much candy as humanly possible in a two to three hour period. You have seen kids running from door to door and grabbing handfuls of candy, taking it home, and competing with brothers and sisters by counting how many pieces each one gets. This is totally normal and enjoyable…that is for most kids. Some children and adolescents, however, do not partake in this event on all Hallows’ Eve. Not due to religious reasons or cultural beliefs, but because they are terrified to eat, touch, or even be around candy. Children and adolescents with eating disorders have extreme fear of eating foods high in calories and fat.
Teens in eating disorder treatment program face seasonal challenges
With the support of lead dietitian Kari Johnson, a group of teens in treatment for eating disorders recently tried a seasonal treat: caramel apples. For this particular food challenge, a variety of caramel apples were provided for the group’s snack, including some with nuts and chocolate. The group’s objective was to eat a portion of the caramel apples to fulfill their meal plan. This activity caused the group to become apprehensive at first, because many feared the caramel, nuts and chocolate, thinking that those foods would cause them to gain weight.
School can trigger eating disorders for some students
School can be stressful and challenging for many young people, and, in some cases, school-related activities can trigger an eating disorder. Nearly 15 percent of the patients at the inpatient eating disorders treatment program for children and adolescents at Rogers Memorial Hospital trace triggers for their eating disorders to school programming.
Dietitians help eating disorder patients find healthy balance
Pictionary, food models and meal outings are just some of the eating disorder treatment tools the 16 dietitians at Rogers use to help each patient learn tools they can use to make healthy food choices in any situation. Theodore E. Weltzin, MD, FAED, medical director of Eating Disorder Services for Rogers, explains the importance of including dietitians on the specialized eating disorder treatment teams at Rogers.