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Guidance Provided for Management of Pediatric Eating Disorders

FRIDAY, Jan. 8, 2021 -- In a new clinical report from the American Academy of Pediatrics, published in the January issue of Pediatrics, guidance is presented for the identification and management of eating disorders in children and adolescents.

Laurie L. Hornberger, M.D., M.P.H., from the University of Missouri-Kansas City, and Margo A. Lane, M.D., from the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, Canada, reviewed common eating disorders diagnosed in children, outlined the medical evaluation of patients suspected of having eating disorders, and presented an overview of treatment strategies.

The authors note that pediatricians should be knowledgeable about risk factors and early signs and symptoms of eating disorders in male and female children and adolescents. At annual health supervision visits, patients should be screened for disordered eating and unhealthy weight-control behaviors. Pediatricians should initiate a comprehensive evaluation, including medical and psychological assessments, in conjunction with appropriate consultants, when an eating disorder is suspected. Pediatricians should refer their patients with eating disorders to treatment resources to facilitate multidisciplinary care. To ensure appropriate services for patients with eating disorders, pediatricians are encouraged to advocate for legislation and policy changes.

"For too long, eating disorders were considered a disease that afflicted mostly affluent White teenage girls," Hornberger said in a statement. "We know today that girls and boys of all ages, income levels, and racial and ethnic groups may be struggling with eating disorders. Our hope is to help counter the stigma they may experience and provide an environment for open nonjudgmental conversations."

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Posted: January 2021

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