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Is This A Eating Disorder ?

Question:

My son who is seventeen now, has been eating chicken nuggets EVERYDAY since he was four years old. Will eat nothing else. Is this a eating disorder ? His doctor says this is o.k but I am worried.

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Answer:

Is This An Eating Disorder

My son who is seventeen now, has been eating chicken nuggets EVERYDAY since he was four years old. Will eat nothing else. Is this a eating disorder ? His doctor says this is o.k but I am worried.

Answer:

With all due respect to your Medical Doctor I am not so sure that it is all right for your son to be eating nothing other than chicken nuggets on a daily basis. It is true that what your son is doing does not fit any of the usual categories for eating disorders. I assume that your son maintains a normal weight for his age, height and gender. I make this assumption based on the premise that your MD would be worried if your son was seriously under or over weight.

Generally speaking a failure to maintain a minimum of 85% of the expected weight for age, size and gender indicates Anorexia Nervosa. Also, if your son fears gaining weight and has distorted opinions about his body and how it looks, it would indicate Anorexia Nervosa. Of course, if he purges or uses enemas or other methods to get rid of what he has eaten he would clearly have Bulimia Nervosa. Finally over-eating resulting in obesity would indicate a serious eating disorder such as Binge Eating Disorder. None of these appear to be true.

However, your son could have an eating disorder that falls into the category of EDNOS: Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified.

I want to highly recommend that you have your son evaluated by a Clinical Psychologist or Psychiatrist who are expert in dealing with adolescents as well as eating disorders. In no way do I believe that a restricted diet such as that of your son’s is normal or healthy. How could he possibly be getting all of the nutrients including vitamins and minerals that he needs as a growing and developing adolescent.

I hope that you have discussed your worries with your son and that you have a good idea of why his meals are so very restricted. It will be necessary to enlist his cooperation in having him evaluated. At age 17 it will be difficult to get him to see an expert if he refuses. I do suggest that you explain to him how worried you are about him and his health.

Best of Luck

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