Only Eating Chicken Nuggets = Eating Disorder

This moring I read a disterbing article called, “Child Abuse? 17-Year-Old Drops After Eating Only Chicken Nuggets Since Age 2”, about a teenager taken to hospital after passing out from complications due to hazardous diet. While I disagree that this would be considered child abuse, I was struck with anger and sadness all at once. This really hit me as I am a mother, and because I have a cousin who faces a lot of the same issues the young lady in the article faces.

Let’s back up to… chicken nuggets. Stacy, now a teenage, reports that she has never even tasted fruits or vegetables! Why is she getting her vitamins and nutrients? I guess she is not as, “’She’s been told in no uncertain terms that she will die if she carries on like this, but Stacey says she can’t eat anything else,’ her mom, Evonne, told U.K.’s Daily Mail.”

Now, I’m not a doctor, or claim to have an extensive knowledge about any medical disorders, but I do know how to work internet for creditable information and sources.

FACT: One out of twenty children between the ages of birth and 10, refuse to eat or will only eat a limited numbers of selected foods. A condition that is also called selective eating, perseverant feeding problems, or food neo-phobia is characterized by a strong fear of trying new foods, leaving its victims at risk for malnutrition and failure to grow normally.

(I added this fact so that my many mom friends will not assume that this is uncommon, and know that it is easily avoidable when treated at a young age.)

FACT: Sensory Processing or Sensory Integration Disorder, simply put, is the inability to organize sensory information as it comes in through the senses. Among other things, this can cause an over-respond to sensation, in food, to be unbearable.

FACT: Research shows a link between eating disorders and Autistic Spectrum Disorders link Asperger’s Syndrome. Atypical eating behaviors, unusual food preparation routines, and/or refusal to eat one or more types of food are all symptoms of Asperger’s Syndrome.

“Those with autistic spectrum disorders often restrict themselves to a small number of dietary choices because they cannot tolerate the textures, smells, or tastes of many foods and may even experience nausea if they attempt to eat them. Avoidance of many different foods may lead to extreme thinness, though it can also potentially cause weight gain if only high-calorie items are tolerated.”

Now, going back to Stacy, in the article, and my cousin who both have an obsession with chicken nuggets, child abuse… I think not. It looks like a medical disorder could explain both obsessive diets and can typically be tested and treated with therapy. Although, Asperger’s Syndrome is not curable, with the right therapy many young adults have learned to cope with said eating disorders.

  • Attwood, T. (2007). The Complete Guide to Asperger’s Syndrome. London, UK: Jessica Kingsley Publishers.
  • Berkman, N.; Lohr, K.; & Bulik, C. (2007). “Outcomes of eating disorders: A systematic review of the literature.” International Journal of Eating Disorders, 40(4), 293-309. Retrieved April 18, 2009, from the EBSCO MasterFILE Premier database.
  • Gillig, C. (2002). A Guide to Asperger Syndrome. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Posted on February 7, 2012, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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