Eating problems in young people

Food, weight and shape may be used as a way of coping with, or communicating about, difficult thoughts, feelings and behaviours that a young person experiences day to day. Some young people develop eating disorders such as anorexia (where food intake is restricted), binge eating disorder and bulimia nervosa (a cycle of bingeing and purging). Other young people, particularly those of primary or preschool age, may develop problematic behaviours around food including refusing to eat in certain situations or with certain people. This can be a way of communicating messages the child does not have the words to convey.


Getting help

It is heartbreaking to see your child struggle and often difficult to know where to start. Below we have listed various ways that you can access support and help.


Face-to-face support

You can take your child to see their GP who will be able to talk to them about their worries and concerns. They can refer you both on for further care & support if needed, such as:

  • Early support & intervention through CAMHS (Child & Adolescent Mental Health Services) Surrey Mindsight programme

Read more here

Online support

  • Beat – the Eating Disorders Charity offer helplines, peer support, on-line support & a message board. They also have a directory of eating disorder services linked to postcode. Adult Helpline: 0345 634 1414.  Open Monday to Wednesday: 1pm-4pm & Thursday and Friday: 10am-1pm
  • Anorexia Bulimia Care (ABC). Information and resources on eating disorders.  Helpline: 03000 11 12 13 offering support for individuals, their families & friends..


  • Two book catalogues by Jessica Kingsley Publishers have a fantastic selection of books for children from pre-school to late teens aimed at supporting mental health and emotional wellbeing in children. One aimed more for under 11 years and one for older children, although there is some cross-over in both.

These sites are recommended by the Department of Health PHSE guidance 2015 and by Hannah Walker, our local teenage and adult counsellor.

If you know of any useful resources on this topic, please do comment below or contact us here. 

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