The most clearly evident warning sign of most eating disorders is a change in weight. Young people should be growing and steadily gaining weight until they reach their adult height and weight. It is relatively unusual for a young person to deviate from this course unless physical illness, an eating disorder or occasionally a healthy weight loss / gain programme is followed by the pupil. You should be hyper-vigilant to unusual changes in weight.
Young people will tend to steadily gain weight as their height increases. However, if you notice that a pupil is gaining weight more rapidly than their peers then it is worth taking note of whether they are exhibiting other binge eating disorder warning signs.
Bulimia’s binge purge cycle can result in sufferers’ weight going up and down quite frequently. If you have a pupil whose weight fluctuates wildly then it’s possible that they are suffering from Bulimia and you should be vigilant for bulimia warning signs .
Significant weight loss is unlikely to occur in young people who are still growing and is likely to be the result of either dieting, or in extreme cases it can be a warning sign for anorexia. Even if a young person is overweight but losing weight, you should remain vigilant for anorexia warning signs as the positive reinforcement that overweight pupils receive when they lose weight can cause them to continue to lose weight beyond a level which is healthy.
Keep an eye out for other warning signs
If you are at all concerned about a young person’s changing weight, you should look for other behavioural or physical warning signs that they are suffering for an eating disorder, and if appropriate take the next steps to support them.