February 26, 2009
Some experts are quick to point out that it is not only parents who may contribute to children’s food anxieties. They cite nutritional programs in schools that may go overboard. “I see younger kids who have an eating disorder precipitated by a nutrition lesson in school,” said Dr. Leslie Sanders, medical director of the eating disorders program at Atlantic Health Overlook Hospital in Summit, New Jersey.
Over the last five years, Sanders said, she has seen a rise in the number of children who are fixated on the way they eat: “Some educators categorize food into ‘good’ and ‘bad.’ The kids come home and say ‘Don’t eat French fries’ instead of talking about moderation.”
The problem, according to some nutritional experts, is that many teachers don’t understand nutrition well. “We’re driving our kids absolutely crazy,” said Katie Wilson, president of the School Nutrition Association. “All the stuff about preservatives and pesticides. All an 8-year-old kid should know is that he or she should eat a variety of colors, and don’t supersize anything but your water jug.”
The parents aren’t blameless though, and not just because they name their kid Greye.