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How do I know if my 11 year old daughter is developing some food issues?

(3 Posts)
Magpie35 Sun 07-Oct-12 19:22:34

Warning: I've never posted on mumsnet, but I'm not sure who to ask about this.

My 11 year old, who has always been slim, appears to be "growing" slimmer. She is very active - she swims competitively 5x per week for a swim club and does a variety of sports and activities. I checked some websites, and given her age and activity, she should have about 2200 calories/day.

She has never been a picky eater, and eating healthy, homemade food has always been highly valued in our house, as well as eating our evening meal all together. I would say she normally makes healthy food choices, given that she's 11 and it's nice for her to have treats with friends, etc. In terms of quantity, I've never paid close attention to how much my kids eat, because the choices available at home are generally healthy. Their own appetite has led their portion size.

I'm concerned because although she is becoming slimmer, she is reporting that her appetite is less. In fact, she does not eat very much in front of us. For example, last night as a treat we went for Chinese food, and I noticed (while trying not to make a big deal about it) that she had 3 pieces of pak choi and 2 spoons of steamed rice. Chinese was her choice. She always says that she ate a big lunch. Her school caterers has the facility that I can check what she buys at school, and it's generally not what I'd call a big amount. A salad bowl and a salad, for example.

She has just started secondary school. She seems to be adjusting well and has made friends, who seem nice. It is a very competitive school, which my daughter was very keen to attend, and worked hard to get into. She herself, whether in school, sport or music, is hardworking and competitive. (She's also really nice!! I make her sound awful!)

I know this is too long for a post, but I guess I'm worried that she is in an at risk category for developing some food issues, and I want to prevent that if possible. But if I make a big deal about it, won't I just make the whole thing worse? Maybe she's just skinny because she pre-pubescent? I would be grateful for any advice or experience on this issue.

ValentineWiggins Sun 07-Oct-12 19:31:14

I worry that all pre-teen girls are in an at risk category TBH - they have so much thrown at them by the media about weight/shape it's really difficult to avoid.

Can you find out if her coaches have said anything? It's possible they have (unhelpfully) suggested she is too heavy? Alternatively if they haven't you might suggest to them now would be a really good time for them to have a talk with all of the squad (and parents) about proper nutrition for competitive sports...if you can focus on it as sports based rather than diet/weight you might have a chance of having the discussion more easily! In fact if you can get the coaches to say that you parents need to ensure that the swimmers eat a proper meal every night then you have a good reason to be watching/nagging her to eat properly at least one meal.

Doesn't go to the root of the potential problem but if she is serious about her sport it might nip whatever it is in the bud.

Good luck!

Magpie35 Sun 07-Oct-12 20:42:43

That is a very good idea, to approach it as a sports focused conversation. I know exactly the coach I'll approach. Thank you!

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