Are children who are raised with mixed eating diets (vegan and regular) at risk for eating disorders as teens and adults?

My friend’s teen-aged daughter eats vegan with her mother and eats meat and dairy when with her father. She was a normal, albeit slightly pudgy tween due to lack of enough DPA (daily physical activity), up until a year ago. After that time she went from a a size 12/14 girls (she was 12 at the time) to a size 8 or 10 ladies by last Christmas. She was caught several times lying about food (stealing it from the fridge and saying she didn’t) and hording candy and chips and hiding these from her mother and father. She was eating restaurant sized portions of food and then would say she was hungry an hour later. I would call these the first steps to a very serious issue with food that will most likely lead to an eating disorder. I am concerned for this child but need some facts and figures to back myself up with when I approach her parents. Help!



  1. 0 Votes

    From what you have explained, it sounds like there is a lot to consider here.  First of all, it sounds as if this particular child comes from divorced parents since she has a completely different diet with her mother than she does with her father.  Research indicates that children who come from divorced or separated parents (or any kind of dysfunctional household) are more likely to develop mental or emotional problems such as the ones that could lead to eating disorders.  Whatever the reason, I would agree that it sounds like this particular child is developing an unhealthy relationship with food.  I am no expert, but if you think this is a serious problem, it might be a good idea to gently suggest to either the mother or father that they have their child see a therapist, or a dietician.  I have provided a link below.  I hope this helps! 

    • 0 Votes

      Thank you so much for your prompt and informed answer. Yes, this child has a dual platform family life. As much as they try to keep on board with each other about lifestyle choices, the eating thing is just dysfunctional in my opinion. There are also extenuating circumstances, a learning disabled/special needs younger sibling and a mother with emotional issues topped off by a controlling police officer for a father, that are definitely playing a part here. I think the daughter needs therapy (and quick) but needed to be armed with some ammunition before I begin this war. “No child left behind.” Thank you again for your assistance with this matter.

  2. 0 Votes

    I totally agree with lola14, I doubt the varied diets between households has much to do with the young lady’s eating habits. However, if the mother became vegan as a way of trying to help her daughter lose weight, then the foods could be part of the issue. It sounds like there is a lot going on in this young lady’s life and she is probably overwhelmed. Plus, if she was already a little on the chubby side she may have been going through puberty slightly earlier than the rest of her friends and that can also be a contributing factor to eating disorders. I hope she gets the help she needs. 

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