Eating disorders may begin as a diet or new workout routine that gets more restrictive and obsessive over time. Teens may stop spending time with family or friends in order to exercise longer, or may cut out food groups until their diet consists of a limited number of low-calorie foods.
The most common teen eating disorders are:
- Anorexia — Restricting food intake by dramatically limiting calories and/or exercising excessively.
- Binge Eating Disorder — Regularly binging on large amounts of food without purging.
- Bulimia — Binging on large amounts of food and then ridding the body of calories by purging. Purging behaviors may include forced vomiting, exercising excessively, or abusing laxatives or diuretics.
Eating disorders are serious illnesses that can be life-threatening. Health consequences may include heart conditions, kidney failure, diabetes, malnutrition, low blood pressure and anemia. Many teens with eating disorders also suffer from other problems such as anxiety, depression and substance abuse.
Treatment For Eating Disorders
If an eating disorder is detected and treated early, the adolescent may require counseling or outpatient eating disorder treatment. In more severe cases, residential eating disorder treatment is often necessary. If a teen’s life is in immediate danger from medical or psychiatric problems, such as suicidal thoughts or behaviors or severe malnutrition, hospitalization may be required.
Treatment for teen eating disorders may include:
- Individual, group and family therapy
- Cognitive behavioral therapy
- Dialectical behavior therapy
- Nutrition counseling
The Ideal Weight for a Teenage Girl
Girls in their early teens grow and gain weight rapidly. A normal weight for a 13-year-old girl ranges from 74 to 147 lbs., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or CDC. For a 14-year-old girl, normal weights range from 81 to 158 lbs. A 15-year-old girl weighing from 88 to 165 lbs., is also of normal weight.
Girls in their later teens, girls continue to grow and gain weight, but their rate of growth slows. For a 16-year-old teenage girl, the CDC states that normal weight is between 92 to 171 lbs. This increases slightly to a range of 97 to 174 lbs., for a 17-year-old girl. A young woman of 18 is of normal weight if she's between 99 and 178 lbs. A normal weight for a 19-year-old young woman is 101 to 180 lbs.
You can't point to a number on a scale as the "right" number, but it is possible to find out if you are in a healthy weight range for your height and age.