Ask the Doctor

Question #14:

My teenage daughter thinks she’s fat, but she’s normal height and weight for her age. Should I be concerned she has an eating disorder?

Answer:

Nita Coleman, MD, of CHKD Health System’s Coastal Pediatrics, says: “The term ‘eating disorder’ refers to a variety of disorders, with anorexia and bulimia being the two most common. People who are anorexic have a distorted view of their bodies and see themselves as fat even when they are very thin. A person with anorexia severely limits her intake of food. Those with bulimia eat in binges and then induce vomiting or take excessive amounts of laxatives. Girls with either anorexia or bulimia may exercise to the point of exhaustion. If you are concerned about your daughter’s eating habits, body image or fear that she is losing too much weight, it’s important to talk to her pediatrician. Eating disorders are serious – even deadly – problems that can rarely be resolved without treatment.”


All Questions

  1. My newborn seems to need something to suck on when she’s not eating. Her mouth is in constant motion. Is it OK to give her a pacifier?
  2. What’s an appropriate amount of television for a toddler to watch each day? I’m worried that my grandson is watching too much TV.
  3. Can weight lifting help overweight kids?
  4. My 8-year-old still sucks his thumb. I hate to pressure him to stop and don’t want to shame him, so what should I do?
  5. My teenage son received a paintball gun for his birthday, and I’m reluctant to let him play with it. Are paintball guns safe?
  6. I’m wondering when my child will be old enough to move from the crib to a single bed. Any guidelines I should know?
  7. Help! My teen keeps talking about getting her tongue pierced. What can I tell her to discourage her?
  8. My grandson was born with jaundice. Can you tell me what causes it and whether it’s serious?
  9. My 2-year-old can’t seem to get into a schedule of meals. She’s hardly ever hungry when it’s time for a meal, but other times she wants to eat all day long. I worry that her eating is too erratic and not healthy.
  10. Is it normal for my baby to hiccup a lot?
  11. What should I know about impetigo if my neighbor’s child has it and frequently plays with my child?
  12. My mother says that my 10-month-old daughter should wear hard-soled shoes to learn to walk. When should I start buying shoes for my baby, and what types are best?
  13. My child complains about sores in her mouth and our doctor says she has canker sores. What causes them?
  14. My teenage daughter thinks she’s fat, but she’s normal height and weight for her age. Should I be concerned she has an eating disorder?
  15. My teenage daughter has been told that cramps and nausea she gets after drinking milk or eating cheese or ice cream are due to lactose intolerance. Can you develop such a problem as you get older?
  16. When should my baby start seeing a dentist?