From Dr. Jane's Notebook

Preventing Child Eating Disorders

In our addiction-conscious society, it is important to recognize the existence of eating disorders. Many individuals and their families know first-hand the pain of the many problems that result when food takes on a role which is greater than nutritional, and people become obsessed with their weight.

Over the past few years, I have worked with many people who have a problems with food. Through this experience, I have learned the following:

After the December holidays, my kids were hooked on junk food. The fruit on the table would rot, but the cookies and chips were going fast. The problem was that we were buying "lunch-box" foods on Sunday, and they'd be gone by Wednesday. That meant another trip to the store and alot of non-nutritious snacking.

During one of our family meetings, we decided that the problem wasn't the lunch bag food, it was their second portion for the after-school snack. We didn't mind buying them what they wanted for lunch, but we weren't keen on allowing it to be the after-school snack too. So a budgetting plan was decided upon.

Now on Sunday, each child gets to buy their favorite kind of cookies for the week, their favorite juice, a bag of chips, and sandwich makings. This food is then kept in a separate bag, "FOR LUNCHES ONLY". That's just about the only junk food we have in the house, so after school, it's fruit! Then, on the weekends, as a special treat, they get any leftovers from the lunch-bag... a reward for "saving".

Our junk food consumption has been cut in half. The children have learned to budget their consumption of junk food (mostly at lunch). They have learned to budget their buying of junk food, by picking out their favorite selections, rather than whining for "lots of stuff". We have seen that they can control their weight by limiting junk food.

Unlike other addictions, food is a requirement. Therefore we must learn to "moderate" its use. Rather than struggle as an adult, this is another skill which can be more easily learned in childhood.

ęCopyright, 1990, 1995, Jane R. Rosen-Grandon. All rights reserved.

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Last Updated October 24, 1998 by Gary M. Grandon, Ph.D.