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Nutrition During Adolescence
The transition from childhood to adulthood is called adolescence. This period (13-18 years) is characterized by rapid growth and development at all levels i.e.,
1. Binge eating
Binge eating is a eating disorder characterized by the consumption of a large amount of food in a small amount of time and may start at any age often not recognized till adulthood. The individual suffering from this is either overweight or obese and suffer from consequent disorders like high blood pressure, hypercholesterolemia and type II diabetes.
Food habits of binge eating:
1. Frequent dieting with erratic increase and decrease in weight.
2. Eating only when hungry or eating to the point of extreme discomfort or consuming large amount during a short time.
3. Avoiding eating at a social gathering or eating only small amounts in front of others.
4. Either avoiding physical activity or anything that may invite attention or increased awareness about one's own body.
They show psychological changes and the signs include
1. Depression, loneliness, guilt or shame and having a low self esteem.
2. Not able to control when eating and unable to stop binges.
Being preoccupied with dieting, body weight or food.
Both psychological and nutritional counseling is extremely important for binge eaters.
2. Anorexia nervosa
Anorexia nervosa is an eating disorder characterized by refusal to eat and loss of body weight. This is more common among adolescent girls when they try to avoid eating food due to over consciousness of their figure and social stress.
They appear extremely thin or emaciated due to rapid weight loss and complaint of nausea, vomiting or bloating after consuming normal food. Girls suffer from loss of mensturation.
They refuse to eat, deny hunger or eat tiny portions of food. They rigidly avoid specific foods like meat and milk.
They exercise heavily and show a different behaviour while eating such as using special utensils while eating or cutting food into fine pieces or eating very small spoons at a time.
3. Bulimia nervosa
This is in quite contrast with anorexia nervosa. Bulimia nervosa is a eating disorder characterized by periods of bingeing and purging and developing unrealistic ideas about food.
The bulimic adolescents eat large quantities of food and then binge. The consequences are
1. dental enamel erosion
2. dental cavities
3. swollen cheeks
4. callus on back of hands
5. fatigue and weakness due to malnutrition
6. irregular menstrual period.
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