You can tell if your child has an eating disorder by being aware of symptoms, notes WebMD. Some general symptoms include excessive exercising, unusual interest in food and anxiety. Other symptoms vary depending on the type of eating disorder the child is experiencing.
One of the most common eating disorders in girls is anorexia nervosa, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine. Children with this disorder have a distorted body image and starve themselves to keep from gaining weight. Symptoms include bizarre eating habits, low body weight, missed periods, abdominal pain and a sensitivity to cold.
Another common eating disorder is bulimia, states WebMD. Bulimics also have a distorted body image and try to keep from losing weight, but instead of refusing to eat, they purge food by vomiting or taking laxatives, diet pills or enemas. Other symptoms include binge eating, eating in secret, long periods of time in the bathroom, depression and substance abuse.
Children are also prone to binge eating, explains WebMD. These children eat large amounts of food at one time but do not purge the food. The result is weight gain and obesity. Children who binge-eat are often trying to struggle with their emotions, which can be a trigger for the overeating.