Typically eating disorders develop in early adolescence when the body undergoes the normal increases in body fat associated with puberty. While you are unlikely to encounted many children with full-blown eating disorders in elementary school, you may see the early beginnings of low self-esteem, unhealthy relationship with food, and hints of unhealthy behavior. At-risk children tend to be anxious, perfectionists, people-pleasers, high achievers, those who are teased and bullied about their weight, and those who don’t know how to process and cope with emotions properly. Interestingly, overweight children may not obly be struggling with binge eating, but their weight status makes them more likely to develop anorexia when adolescence beings and the desire for positive attention around appearance is more pronounced.
Eating disorder experts have found that prompt treatment significantly improves the chances of recovery, and early intervention can prevent years or even decades of suffering. There are many websites that can be explored which provide information on how to identify signs and symptoms of an eating disorder, how to talk to a child or a friend, and where you can go for professional help.