So, should you be worried?
n Eating disorders are not about food – they are about emotions. Does your child see food as simply fuel, or are they particularly emotional around it? This can be a warning sign.
• Parents often don't notice weight loss until it's too late and the eating disorder has taken a firm hold, says expert Dr John Griffin. Parents need to be watchful, and to impress on their kids that it's okay to be normal, and that we come in all shapes and sizes.
• Children learn by example. Are you always on a diet and talking about needing to lose weight? They'll pick up on these messages very quickly. Be a good role model and eat healthily.
• Learn as much as you can about eating disorders. If you think your child has a problem, broach the topic as calmly as possible and reassure them you'll be there for them no matter what.
• Seek help from your GP or from Bodywhys, which runs a lo-call helpline on 1890 200 444 and an online support group at www.bodywhys.ie.