Childhood Eating Disorder

(Also Known As: Children's Eating Disorder, Eating Disorder, Bulimia, Anorexia, Binge Eating)

(Reviewed by: Paul Peterson, Licensed Therapist)

What is Childhood Eating Disorder?

Eating disorders are not only common among adults; even children can suffer from eating disorder which is known as childhood eating disorders. This kind of disorder is characterized by extreme worry with food and weight. Eating disorders include many types and subtypes such as: anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa and binge-eating disorder, but the two major eating disorders that are common and seen in children nowadays are anorexia and bulimia.

Anorexia nervosa generally develops during the stage of adolescence, hence there are an alarming number of cases that are seen in young people and sometimes among children. Young children as early as four years old have had symptoms of anorexia according to Barton J. Blinder, M.D, a specialist on eating disorders. He said in a study in Mayo Clinic, that in 600 patients of different ages, there are three percent that are prepubescent anorexics or a child that is anorexic even before he/she reaches puberty.

The following are the 3 feeding and eating disorders of infancy or early childhood.


Child prefers and continuously eats foods that are non-nutritive for no less than a month.


  • Child eats non-nutritive foods for a month or longer
  • Behavior is not developmentally suitable
  • Behavior is not pleasing within the child’s culture
  • If behavior exists within sole context of a mental disorder such as mental retardation, a pervasive developmental disorder or schizophrenia, it warrants independent treatment.

Rumination Disorder

Child repeatedly chewing again the food following a normal stage of functioning that will last at least one month


  • When eating food is frequently regurgitated and re-chewed for a month or longer and this occurs after a normal period of eating.
  • Behavior is not due to a gastrointestinal or other medical condition
  • Behavior does not happen only during anorexia nervosa or bulimia
  • If behavior exists within sole context of a mental disorder such as mental retardation, or a pervasive developmental disorder, it warrants independent treatment

Feeding disorder of infancy or early childhood

There is a feeding disturbance which is characterized by not eating an adequate amount of food and major failure in losing or gaining weight.


  • Lack of proper eating that causes significant weight loss or failure for weight gain which last for a month or more.
  • Behavior is not attributable to a gastrointestinal or other medical condition
  • Behavior is not better explained by lack of available food or another mental disorder
  • Begins earlier than 6 years old

Could You Have Childhood Eating Disorder?

Childhood Eating Disorder Topics

Related Conditions

Anorexia Nervosa – Starvation, Over-Exercise, Laxatives, Diuretics, Warped Body Image
Bulimia Nervosa – binge eating, purging, fasting, excessive eating, uncontrolled eating