Can a Toddler Really Have an Eating Disorder?

toddler eating disorderI would never dare to not take eating disorders seriously. Never. Eating disorders kill, and even if they don't destroy your body (which they generally do), they wreak havoc on your mental and emotional states for your entire life. It's no joke, and should never be dismissed. However. This Daily Mail article that says a three-year-old has an eating disorder does in fact, wind up making light of eating disorders.

First of all, there is no information about said three-year-old. Just that "children are getting eating disorders younger and younger," and even -- gasp! -- THREE! Yet, no information as to what this toddler is suffering from, and if it's even possible. Which I just don't think it is. I simply can't imagine having an eating disorder at age three actually is a real issue.


Do I believe a three-year-old could have food issues? Yes. My own almost three-year-old has the weirdest, unhealthiest, eating "pattern" of any three-year-old I've ever met. Do I believe a three-year-old could have psychological problems? Potentially. But how does a three-year-old even understand body image? They can't.

Three-year-olds are not looking at Vogue and wondering why they don't stack up. They are not facing societal pressure to be thin. They don't even know what fat or thin is at this point. (The obvious exception being those poor, poor children on "Toddlers & Tiaras.") Are there three-year-olds with sensory issues that may involve food? You bet. Control issues that may include food? Absolutely. But claiming a three-year-old could suffer from anorexia or bulimia is ridiculous, and simply a headline grabbing ploy.

So if you saw this article, and are now worried about your toddler, please don't. Eating white food is par for the course. Skipping meals happens, and has nothing to do with whether or not she can fit into a 3T bikini this season.

Let's let toddlers be toddlers. And not try to force them into adolescence and the problems that can happen, until the time is right. Or wrong, as it were.

Do you think a toddler can have an eating disorder?


Image via nerissa's ring/Flickr

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