Childhood Disorders

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12 and HoldingA Guide to Asperger SyndromeA Lethal InheritanceA Mother's Courage: Talking Back to AutismA Parent's Guide to Asperger Syndrome and High-Functioning AutismA Special EducationA Toss Of The DiceA Tribe ApartA User Guide to the GF/CF Diet for Autism, Asperger Syndrome and AD/HDA Walk in the Rain With a BrainABC of Eating DisordersADD-Friendly Ways to Organize Your LifeADHD Grown UpADHD in the Schools: Assessment and Intervention StrategiesADHD NationAdolescence and Body ImageAdolescent DepressionAggression and Antisocial Behavior in Children and AdolescentsAll Alone in the UniverseAlpha GirlsAmericaAnother PlanetAntisocial Behavior in Children and AdolescentsAsperger Syndrome and Your ChildAsperger Syndrome, Adolescence, and IdentityAsperger's and GirlsAssessment of Childhood DisordersAttention Deficit DisorderAttention-Deficit Hyperactivity DisorderAttention-Deficit/Hyperactivity DisorderAutism - The Eighth Colour of the RainbowAutism and MeAutism's False ProphetsAutistic Spectrum DisordersBad GirlBeen There, Done That? DO THIS!Before I DieBetween Two WorldsBeyond AppearanceBig Mouth & Ugly GirlBipolar ChildrenBipolar Disorder in Childhood and Early AdolescenceBipolar DisordersBipolar KidsBlackwell Handbook of Childhood Cognitive DevelopmentBody Image, Eating Disorders, and ObesityBody Image, Eating Disorders, and Obesity in YouthBoy AloneBrain-Based Therapy with Children and AdolescentsBreaking PointBreathing UnderwaterBringing Up ParentsBullying and TeasingBullying PreventionBut I Love HimCan't Eat, Won't EatCaring for a Child with AutismCatalystChild and Adolescent PsychiatryChild and Adolescent Psychological DisordersChild and Adolescent PsychopathologyChild NeuropsychologyChild Well-BeingChildren and SexualityChildren Changed by TraumaChildren with Emerald EyesChildren with Sexual Behavior ProblemsChildren, Sexuality and SexualizationChildren’s Dreaming and the Development of Consciousness City of OneCommunication Issues In Autism And Asperger SyndromeConcepts of NormalityConcise Guide to Child 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Revised EditionTaming the Troublesome ChildTemple GrandinThe American Psychiatric Publishing Textbook Of Child And Adolescent PsychiatryThe Anti-Romantic ChildThe Bipolar ChildThe Boy Who Loved Too MuchThe Boy Who Loved WindowsThe Boy Who Was Raised as a DogThe Buffalo TreeThe Bully Action GuideThe Bully, the Bullied, and the BystanderThe Burn JournalsThe Color of AbsenceThe Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-TimeThe Depressed ChildThe Developing MindThe Dragons of AutismThe Einstein SyndromeThe EpidemicThe Evolution of ChildhoodThe Explosive ChildThe Eyes of van GoghThe Fasting GirlThe Field of the DogsThe Flight of a DoveThe Hidden Gifts of the Introverted ChildThe Horse BoyThe Identity TrapThe Inner World of a Suicidal YouthThe Inside Story on Teen GirlsThe Kindness of StrangersThe Last Normal ChildThe Little MonsterThe Medicated ChildThe Myth of LazinessThe New Gay TeenagerThe Nurture AssumptionThe OASIS Guide to Asperger SyndromeThe Other ParentThe Perversion of YouthThe 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Related Topics
Body Image, Eating Disorders, and Obesity in YouthReview - Body Image, Eating Disorders, and Obesity in Youth
Assessment, Prevention, and Treatment
by J. Kevin Thompson, and Linda Smolak (Editors)
American Psychological Association, 2001
Review by Tiffany S. Ulatowski and Joseph W. Ulatowski
May 21st 2004 (Volume 8, Issue 21)

Dramatic increases in childhood obesity have many health professionals concerned. Future health complications of obese children include heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and high lipid levels. These chronic diseases are extremely costly and can lead to premature death. Several studies have demonstrated that obese children will become obese adults. Health professionals have begun implementing interventions early in life to circumvent future health problems. Understanding the development, prevention, and treatment of eating disturbances is the only way to combat obesity and eating disorders. Thompson and Smolak's collaborative anthology has accumulated current research on the assessment, prevention, and treatment of eating irregularities in youth.

Development of eating disorders derives from a number of factors. Perhaps the greatest factor in developing an eating disorder is one's own family. In "Family Functioning, Body Image, and Eating Disturbances," Ari Steinberg and Vicky Phares collaborate to show the overwhelming influence family has on the development and maintenance of maladaptive body image and eating disturbances. They argue that family dysfunction and problematic communication styles serve to exacerbate eating disorders. Family dysfunction has been known to be directly related to negative self-esteem and related indirectly to eating disturbances. Also, children internalize a parent's communicating beliefs about weight, dieting, and exercise. Thus, this calls for greater attention of all family members, i.e. parents and siblings, effect on the development of eating disorders in youth.

In "Assessment of Body Image Disturbance in Children and Adolescents," Rick Gardner argues that assessment of body image disturbances is important for understanding the development of eating disorders. Most studies have explored high school aged and college aged young adults, but Gardner believes that dissatisfaction with one's own body image begins at a much earlier age. In fact, we should study the manifestation of body image awareness in younger children. Young children are particularly susceptible because of parental influence. Recent research has shown that children, particularly girls, under the age of 10 have begun to show signs of body image disturbances. Thus, assessment of body image disturbances in younger children demands careful consideration.

Robinson and Killen describe the use of Bandura's Social Cognitive Theory as the foundation for their intervention: Obesity Prevention for Pre-Adolescents (OPPrA). Aimed at ethnically and socio-economically diverse adolescents, this intervention not only provides health education in the classroom but also includes educational material for parents: dietary materials focus on healthy foods, such as fruits and vegetables, while material about physical education focus on enjoyable activities. Parents were sent newsletters and videos that taught basic parenting skills, nutrition, and family-centered physical activities.  In addition, Robinson and Killen offered separate classes to high-risk adolescents and their parents.  By focusing on positive behavior and feedback, Robinson and Killen's study showed that children demonstrated healthy behaviors and enjoyed being physically active.  Robinson and Killen suggest that positive results will occur if behavioral change is a part of early intervention. 

Faith, Saelens, Wilfley, and Allison offer an overview of past interventions and provide insight for future prevention and treatment techniques. They explain that the most important ingredient of successful intervention is parental involvement. Future interventions must overcome environmental, family, peer, and child specific challenges. Aiming interventions at the correct group of adolescents is important to provide appropriate treatment for obese individuals. Genetic research enables health professionals to predict which non-obese adolescents will become obese, and prescribe, if necessary, the correct type of medication for maximum weight loss. It is evident from this article that the prevention and treatment of obese children will become more sophisticated and more precise as technology advances.

The material in this book is comprehensive. Graduate students and health professionals will find this book to be an invaluable resource for current research in the assessment, prevention, and treatment of body image disorders. Also, the anthology identifies behavioral change as the primary source of prevention and treatment. Behavioral change is a burgeoning research field in the health sciences. By understanding how food preferences develop and the pressure that society, parents, and peers place on good looks, it is easier to create and implement effective interventions. Researchers and health professionals must understand all aspects of these disorders in order to treat and prevent them; this book is a tremendously useful guide for understanding eating disturbances in youth.


© 2004 Joe and Tiffany Ulatowski


Tiffany S. Ulatowski is General Manager of The Plaza Executive Health Club in Salt Lake City, Utah. She earned a Master of Science degree in Health and Fitness Management from American University in Washington, D.C. She created and implemented a health education initiative for children in Mississippi while working for the Baptist Memorial Health Systems. Her research interests include the prevention and treatment of childhood obesity and the psychological factors related to the development of eating irregularities in early adolescence.


Joe Ulatowski is a Ph.D. student in the department of philosophy at the University of Utah. His interests include metaphysics and epistemology, particularly the philosophy of logic, foundations of mathematics, and philosophy of science


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