Dangerous dieting is a trend among kids, one you need to be aware of.

Dangerous dieting is a trend among kids, one you need to be aware of before they head back to school.

Medical experts warn younger children who follow fad diets can suffer from life-long medical issues; including serious digestive problems, depression, and anxiety.

“We see those unhealthy relationships with food in younger kids who want to do diets and not having family meals, are more likely to develop eating disorders as teenagers,” explained Mary Remollino, a Physician Assistant at Medina Family Medicine.

She says it is good to have a conversation with your kids about what they’re eating. This helps build up a healthy relationship with food and can keep you alert to any warning signs.

Remollino pointed out warning signs, saying, “If parents can also be on the lookout for children wanting to avoid certain meals or not finishing types of food on their plate…or eating separately from [their parents], not wanting to go to restaurants.”

More pediatricians are talking with younger kids about dangerous dieting. Reports show hospitalizations for eating disorders in children under the age of 12 have increased.

“Not only being at school and facing negative energy but it follows you home on social media,” said Remollino. She added that social media also exposes them to images of what they are pressured into believing they should look like. “It can lead young girls down the path to anorexia, bulimia, to try to attain these unhealthy weights.”

She suggested that instead of focusing on what to eat, shift the focus to exercise. In addition, make sure to have family dinners so kids don’t feel isolated.

Health experts warn they may also mimic how parents eat and talk. Avoid restricting necessary nutrients for a growing child and negative talk about your own body.