During adolescence, well-nourished food should be provided to promote the ideal development and growth as it is an age that is characterized by the rapid growth of bones. Based upon the body requirements, the intake of nutrients should be frequently monitored. Adolescents are more prone to suffer from eating disorders which can have a negative impact on their health. It is impertinent to treat the abnormal eating behavior early because it increases the risk of developing serious health complications. Young females have been reported to develop eating disorder and the number has drastically risen from past three decades. In addition, eating disorder is the commonly occurring third chronic illness all over the world.
Eating disorders are usually divided into two subcategories such as anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa. Anorexia nervosa is a restrictive eating disorder that is characterized by the decreased intake of food while bulimia nervosa is the eating disorder characterized by the abnormal food bingeing followed by forced vomiting, skipping food and over-exercising or catharsis. The eating disorders in adolescents should be treated with an alternative approach compared to adult eating disorders. Adolescents suffering from eating disorders present with stunted growth, decrease of height, over-weight, delayed puberty, absence of menstrual periods, and menstrual irregularity. A developing adolescent presents with abnormal tissue growth such as decreased muscle mass, lack of body fat, and loss of bone mineral.
Eating Disorders Abnormalities
Nutritional imbalance develops in addition to abnormal levels of nutrients, minerals, vitamins, and other trace elements and the body imbalance occurs when these abnormalities are not clinically noticed. It is impertinent to trace the abnormalities in adolescents as sufficient calories and proteins are necessary for their growth. All these imbalances can prevent from attaining the healthy adulthood and hence it is utmost necessary to diagnose the eating disorders early in case of adolescents. Eating disorders cause abnormal bone mass in adolescents that triggers osteoporosis when they attain their adulthood. In addition, eating disorders affects the internal organs in the system and its wide range of negative effects on health can be avoided by the early diagnosis and treatment of the condition.
Unhealthy weight loss programs are usually followed by the adolescents who are more conscious about their figure and require treatment that is based on certain factors pertaining to their weight, diet, and level of physical activity. Apart from assessing the symptoms of eating disorder, it is important to check the intensity, duration, and frequency of the condition. Moreover, many cases presenting with physical complications respond well to the nutritional rehabilitation. However, some cases may not be reversed due to the development of long term complications. It is advised to prevent irreversible damage to the body by addressing the eating disorders during its early stages. In addition, the adolescent should be placed under medical supervision until the medical and psychological conditions get improved.
Apart from causing physical abnormalities, the eating disorders also result in psychological abnormalities. Adolescents suffering from eating disorders develop low self-worth, anti-social behavior, low self-esteem, emotional abnormalities, substance abuse, anxiety, and depression. Due to lack of knowledge about healthy weight loss, the depressed adolescents develop unhealthy eating habits in an attempt to lose weight. Hence, these patients should also be examined for psychiatric illness. Also certain factors like limited food consumption, bingeing, purging and instant weight loss in these adolescents should be checked frequently as it could lead to sudden death. Hence, positive results can be obtained with early treatment and minimal intervention when compared to adults.