Teens' obsession with healthy eating may turn into disease

AKRON, OH (WOIO) - These days, it's easy to find information about healthy eating.

The Internet is full of people offering you tips about diet and nutrition.

That doesn't mean it's all good advice, though.

"There's so much poor information on the Internet and social media, and just because they look thin, like you may want to look, that doesn't mean their way of getting there was healthy," said Dr. Jessica Castonguay with Akron Children's Hospital.

Dr. Castonguay is part of a team of specialists, including two physicians, two dieticians, a case manager, and a psychologist, who make up the eating disorder clinic at Akron Children's Hospital.

She says she started seeing this trend of more kids showing signs of obsession with healthy eating several years ago. It even has a name. Orthorexia. It happens when an interest in healthy eating turns into an obsession that could derail your own physical health.

"One of the things we're seeing most often is young people who want to be more healthy in their diet and in their meals, so they start to cut out maybe junk foods first, then maybe fried foods, and they start to cut out more and more," said Dr. Castonguay.

She says they sometimes see teenagers in the clinic who eat only small amounts of vegetables each day. That can cause a lot of problems with growing bodies, at an age when proper vitamins and nutrients in the body are critical.

"When young people decide not to go out with their friends because they don't want to have ice cream, they don't want to have that slice of pizza, when it takes them hours before going out with their friends on the Internet, looking up nutritional information at the restaurant that they're going to, then that's a sign that there might be a problem," she said.

If you're worried your teen may be showing signs of an eating disorder, contact a doctor for treatment.

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