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Health Issues

Warning Signs of Anorexia

If you answer “Yes” to several of these questions, talk with your child and pediatrician.

  • Does your child skip family meals and prepare her own food instead?
  • Is she following her own diet?
  • Are certain food groups or nutrients categorically excluded?
  • Are no- or low-calorie foods and drinks a major part of daily intake?
  • Has she adopted a “healthy” vegetarian diet suddenly and obsessively?
  • Are diet pills or preparations in her possession?
  • Is she overly concerned with losing or gaining weight?
  • Have you found laxatives that you did not give her?
  • Does she hide food in her room?
  • Does she visit the bathroom after eating?
  • Does she flush the toilet, run water, or turn on the shower while in the bathroom?
  • Has your plumbing repeatedly and inexplicably become clogged?
  • Does she have an unusual number of scratches or cuts over her knuckles?
  • Does she have swollen cheeks or lymph nodes around her face, or broken blood vessels in the whites of her eyes?
  • Has she lost a lot of weight in a short time?
  • Does she look gaunt?
  • Does she get dizzy or is she easily fatigued?
  • Does she have frequent headaches, heartburn, or constipation?
  • Have her periods stopped?
  • Does she play with her food without actually eating it?
  • Has she developed downy hair on her face, arms, and back?
  • Can you see the bones of her back and collarbones clearly outlined?
  • Does she have bruises along her backbone?
  • Does she wear loose, bulky clothing?
  • Does she exercise for hours on end with a routine that can’t be interrupted or changed?
  • Has she become withdrawn from her friends or family?
  • Does she seem more secretive?
Last Updated
Nutrition: What Every Parent Needs to Know (Copyright © American Academy of Pediatrics 2011)
The information contained on this Web site should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your pediatrician. There may be variations in treatment that your pediatrician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances.
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