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Expert Video: Risks of Eating Disorders In Teenagers

Lucene Wisniewski, Ph.D., chief clinical officer of The Emily Program, offers eating disorder advice for parents.What are the causes of eating disorders? Is your teenager at risk for eating disorders?

Video #1: When Do You Need Help?


How do I know when a kid needs to come in? If a parent is concerned enough to make the phone call, and there are signs and symptoms that they are describing to me over the phone that are indicative of what I might call “funny eating”. So the kid is not eating with the family, very concerned about weight and shape, going to the bathroom after dinner, exercising outside of what the coach is recommending. Those are red flags.

Video #2: Risk Factors


People wonder if there’s a profile of an eating disorder, or the kind of kid that’s going to develop an eating disorder. And I think the thing in psychology in general is that there is no hard and fast rule of this person will indeed get an eating disorder and this person won’t.

Video #3: Biology and Environment


There are environmental issue that can put a kid at risk for an eating disorder. Because, first of all, eating disorders develop usually because there’s a biological risk factor to start, and then the environment really facilitates the expression of that biology.

Video #4: Creating a Healthy Food Environment


As parents it’s really important to think about your own eating and the model that you show your kids. Eating probably more than almost anything else, our kids model us on. And we can say one thing do another, and it doesn’t matter what we say, it really matters what we do.

Video #5: 3 Ways to Stop Glorifying Thinness


There’s a dialectic in our culture where we are focused on making sure that people aren’t obese and glorifying thinness. And that makes it very complicated for people who have eating issues. I’ve seen many times where someone who is thin because of their eating disorder is complemented by people. “Oh hey you look so great, oh you lost so much weight.”

Video #6: Handle Obesity with Care


When a family has an overweight kid, they really are stuck in this place where there’re so many messages about obesity and the risks for obesity and how we need to attack that problem. The then problem with that is that the strategies could lead to problematic eating behavior.

Lucene Wisniewski, Ph.D., FAED, is the founder and chief clinical officer of Center for Evidence Based Treatment Ohio and an adjunct assistant professor of psychological sciences at Case Western Reserve University.

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