Parents and eating disorders

Nutritionist Marcia Herrin, EdD, MPH, explains how parents can contribute to eating disorders in their children and what can be done to prevent this from occurring
How Parents Can Contribute To Child's Eating Disorder
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Parents and eating disorders

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If a mother has an eating disorder, there are two reasons that their child, whether boy or girl, would be at risk. One is genetics are a very, very big player when it comes to eating disorders. That's a very clear link now, that there are genetic risks for having an eating disorder. If a mother or father or aunts who have eating disorders, they are at higher risk because of genetics. The nature/nurture question comes in too. A parent with an eating disorder that is unrecognized, untreated, unresolved could be setting the stage for their children to have an eating disorder. Children emulate their parents. If mom is always worried about what she is eating and what she looks like, her children are going to think that's how they should operate in the world. You really have a situation there that is really dynamic. As we like to say, genetics sets the state, nurture and environment can push the "on" button.

Nutritionist Marcia Herrin, EdD, MPH, explains how parents can contribute to eating disorders in their children and what can be done to prevent this from occurring

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Marcia Herrin, EdD, MPH, RD, LD

Nutritionist

Marcia Herrin, EdD, MPH, RD, is the founder of Dartmouth College’s nationally renowned nutrition programs. Currently, Dr. Herrin conducts a private practice in Lebanon, New Hampshire. Marcia received her doctorate in nutrition education from Columbia University. At the University of California-Berkeley, she received her master’s degree and completed a dietetic internship. More recently, Marcia has completed two trainings with James Lock and Daniel le Grange in Family-Based Treatment (Maudsley). She also is certified in Childhood, Adolescent, and Adult Weight Management. Besides a fulltime counseling practice, Marcia has written three books and is working on her fourth. The Parent’s Guide to Eating Disorders tells parents everything they need to know about eating disorders. Nutrition Counseling in the Treatment of Eating Disorders tells professionals everything they need to know about working with food in eating disorders. Marcia has been featured in People magazine and on Today and 48 Hours. Marcia credits much of her success with patients with eating disorders and obesity to her own struggles with and recovery from these conditions. Her childhood, as the oldest of six children growing up on a Montana ranch, is another significant influence.

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