Anorexia is prevented from home
Experts estimate that the cases of anorexia and bulimia have multiplied tenfold in the last 20 years, affecting almost 3 percent of young people in Madrid aged between 12 and 24 years. Eating Disorders are the first cause of death at an early age, ranging from 5 to 10 percent of the mortality of those affected, and the second chronic disease of adolescents.
The severity of these figures has increased the social sensitivity around these diseases, which is reflected in the increase in cases that are detected early.
Risk factors of anorexia
Some facts that predispose to suffer food problems:
- Habits of meals : It is common to find adolescents who eat alone, watching TV, choosing the food that they most want and without adjusting to a precise schedule.
- The stage of adolescence forces them to become “adults” quickly due, on the one hand, to the rhythm of work of the parents who are never at home and on the other hand to the excessive trust and responsibility that the parents place in them.
- The lack of communication with parents, who do not know
what their children do during the weekend and ignore their concerns and small conflicts.
“Most Spanish mothers detect the problem that their daughter has about 6 months before the onset of the disease appears,” says Dr. Morandé, head of the Unit of Eating Disorders Hospital Niño Jesus, in Madrid . “In this sense, it has been greatly improved. The population has more and more information and it can be said that there is a social alarm that facilitates the ability of mothers to detect early this type of pathologies.
The mother is usually the first person to perceive that something is happening to her daughter. An excessive concern about weight or physical appearance or certain changes in eating habits may be the first signs that anorexia is beginning to show. However, sometimes parents do not know the lives of their adolescent daughters, do not know anything about their new friendships and find it quite difficult to sit down to talk with them to detect any warning signal.
The main prevention strategy for eating disorders goes through the family environment. It is of great importance that parents place some trust in their children, although they should not be treated as adults prematurely. It is very positive that the mother shares with her daughter some spaces of coexistence (such as shopping, sharing impressions about their studies) and that there is enough complicity for the adolescent daughter to share in her first adventures and social conflicts.
In any case, if any symptoms are detected (lack of appetite, start of strict diets, …) it is necessary that the mother begins to reorganize her house in a healthy way to help her daughter. You must assume that you have neglected certain aspects that have to be reviewed: establish a meal schedule for the whole family, do not let her eat alone, supervise all meals (breakfast, lunch, snack and dinner) and, above all, make her understand and Accept your body and the changes you are experiencing as a result of adolescence.
Dialogue, the main preventive measure against anorexia
A good relationship between mother and daughter is the best way to protect against eating disorders during adolescence.
There are four compelling reasons that advise closer proximity of parents at this critical stage of growth:
- The mother can greatly help her daughter understand the changes the organism undergoes during puberty. It is in this period when physical attractiveness becomes more relevant and is usually more linked to success and the most important physical changes are experienced.
- If the daughters notice that a friend has problems, the best way to help her is to convince her to tell them to her mother. At the same time it is good that a mother knows and cares for the friends of her daughters, since they will take care of their daughters when they are not with her.
- Proper nutrition is essential to prevent anorexia and bulimia . The mother must make sure that her teenage daughter takes a minimum of three meals a day, including a good breakfast.
- Like her mother, the daughter is also a woman and both have things in common and others to discuss. It is important to find a space that allows you to talk about more personal things in an environment away from the stresses of home. It is not about modifying or criticizing the behavior of the daughter, but only listening.