Dear Dr. Archer,
My 11-year-old daughter is obsessing about her weight. I don't think she has an eating disorder yet, but I am worried about it. She is not thin, but she is definitely not fat. She talks about how fat she is all the time. How concerned should I be at this point?
Today's society is all about a marketing drive to convince people that in order to be happy they must have the newest cell phone, a bigger HDTV, a large house they can't afford or a perfect body. No wonder our youth (along with many adults) obsess over their weight, appearance and products. It sounds like your daughter is of average weight and the fact she discusses this frequently is not a cause for concern in and of itself. Talk with her about a healthy diet and exercise, and the effect of peer pressure to look perfect as opposed to how much she weighs. Also Sue, you must point out to her that the most important fact of all isto be happy with who you are as a person inside and out. A turn for the worse would be indicated by a sudden rapid weight loss (anorexia) or evidence of binging and purging (bulimia). Otherwise, it would be a good idea to stay alert for changes, but odds are she is probably just going through a normal adolescent phase and should be fine. Take care.