Health & Wellness

Eating Disorders and Body Issues Affecting Younger and Younger Girls: Kids First host Dr. Rosalie Greenberg and Dr. Leslie Sanders Discuss Possible Causes, Effects and Treatments

The September episode of Kids First addresses a problem very much in the news today. What was once predominantly problems affecting young women in their late teens and early twenties, issues concerning body image and eating disorders are now afflicting preadolescents as young as five and six years old. While recognizing there is a true problem with obesity in children, Dr. Greenberg is equally concerned with those young people, mostly girls, who are obsessed with their body image and are willing to go to extremes to achieve what they perceive to be the perfect weight.

Dr. Leslie Sanders, Medical Director of the Eating Disorders Program for Atlantic Health Systems, adds invaluable insight on the topic. She brings both a medical as well as a historical perspective of who is most susceptible to these disorders and how the methods of treatments have changed.

“As a psychiatrist many of the medications I prescribe are not weight neutral and I am very concerned, from both a physical and psychological perspective about the weight the kids may gain,” explains Dr. Greenberg. “Part of my working with my patients is to monitor how well they are handling any weight gain. I am also aware that these issues of body image, eating disorders and self-esteem are not confined to my practice. They are prevalent in younger and younger children who should not even be thinking about things like calories or if clothes make their bodies look fat.”

Dr. Sanders shares that body image issues and eating disorders are not merely illnesses regarding food intake and perception of one’s physical appearance. There are many components at play including psychological, social, family, nutritional and medical. The effects of not treating the illness early enough or properly can be devastating, ranging from the impairment of development of certain organs to even death. That is why the newest approach to treatment involves numerous types of professionals.

Molly Babos , host of Kids Corner, showed kids of every age, and their parents, how to have a day of fun at Kids Castle, part of Doylestown Township, PA’s, Central Park.

Look for future episodes of Kids First to discuss the pros and cons of medication in special needs children and adolescents.

The host of Kids First is Rosalie Greenberg, M.D., a board- certified child and adolescent psychiatrist and the author of Bipolar Kids: Helping Your Child Find Calm in the Mood Storm. She is also the co-producer of the DVD Rescuing Childhood: Understanding Bipolar Disorders in Children and Adolescents. She is recognized as one of the Top Doctors in Child Psychiatry in the Castle Connelly NY Metropolitan Area Guide (1999-2011), New York Magazine (2005-2011), New Jersey Monthly Magazine (2005), New Jersey Life Magazine (2006) and Inside New Jersey-A Star Ledger Magazine (2009 - 2011). Dr. Greenberg is a former assistant professor of clinical psychiatry at Columbia University and maintains a psychopharmacology practice in Summit, NJ.

To view the program, please go to: Kids First can also be seen on HomeTowne Television, Comcast - Station 36 and Verizon - Station 33, at the following times: Sundays at 10:30pm, Mondays at 12:30pm, Tuesdays at 6:30pm, Fridays at 10am and 9pm, and Saturdays at 8:30pm.

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