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Photo: Mladen Zivkovic (Shutterstock) Eating disorders in children and teens are on the rise two years into the COVID-19 pandemic, with hospitalization rates three times higher now than before. Even kids as young as eight or nine are affected, according to a study of six Canadian hospitals. “Most commonly, we see [eating disorders] in young teenagers, but we are seeing it in 8-, 9- or 10-year-old children, more than we’ve seen in the past,” said Catherine Gordon , chair of pediatrics at Baylor College of Medicine and pediatrician-in-chief at Texas Children’s Hospital. With this in mind, it’s important to be aware of the signs of an eating disorder, as early detection can help prevent more serious long-term complications. If you catch a child’s burgeoning eating disorder early on, said Gordon, “you can get them to feeling better about themselves and about eating, and ward off some of the long-term [complications].” Warning signs of an eating disorder Some of the signs of an eating disorder include: skipping meals compulsive exercise, especially after eating highly restricted eating patterns, like eliminating entire groups of food or only eating at very specific times talking about eating but only picking at meals consuming highly caffeinated beverages as an appetite suppressant “Needing to exercise every day or to exercise after meals can be a warning sign,” Gordon said. “A child or adolescent who was a good eater, who stops eating well, or who makes a lot of excuses for not eating—that’s often a red flag.” […]