Doctors, behavioral health experts and registered dietitians (food and nutrition experts who hold specific academic and professional certifications) work together to evaluate and treat eating disorders in children and adolescents at the Eating Disorders Program at Nemours, a comprehensive program aimed at addressing the many medical and emotional needs of children with eating disorders all in one place.
At Nemours, our program evaluates and treats eating disorders in children and adolescents, including anorexia nervosa, bulimia, binge eating disorder and female athlete triad (a condition brought on by over-exercise coupled with disordered eating).
Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children, Wilmington
Locations & Doctors
For Appointments: (302) 651-4200
- photo ID
- medical and pharmacy insurance cards
- preferred pharmacy name and phone number
- names and dosage of all medications, including over-the-counter medication, your child is currently taking
- guardianship and custody papers, if a legal guardian rather than a parent accompanies your child
- Patient Presents Without Legal Guardian (PDF)
English | Spanish
Note: A parent or legal guardian must be with a child for a first visit.
Resources for Patients & Families
The Eating Disorders Program at Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children provides comprehensive, individualized treatment for eating disorders in children.
At the First Eating Disorder Evaluation
At your child’s first meeting with our staff, we will perform a thorough physical exam. We may also perform other types of tests, such as blood tests or bone density tests, to help us determine the severity of any medical complications caused by the eating disorder and to start any appropriate treatments.
A psychological evaluation will take place to help us understand your child’s body image and self-esteem issues, as well as any other emotional factors that may have contributed to the eating disorder. This assessment may be performed by our psychologists or take place at a location outside of Nemours, depending on your preference and guidance from your insurance carrier. Because many children with eating disorders often have co-existing conditions, such as obsessive-compulsive disorder, anxiety, or depression, we will take these factors into account as we create our treatment plan.
The final component of an initial evaluation is a nutritional assessment, in which a registered dietitian will interview both you and your child about the amount and quality of the food your child takes in. We will use this information to create an individualized recovery meal plan that focuses on healthy choices and seeks to dispel whatever myths your child may hold about certain foods, diets, and eating in general.
Our Approach to Treating Eating Disorders in Children
Our goal is to develop a personalized, family-based plan to help your child successfully fight back against an eating disorder and learn to forge a new, healthy relationship with food.
Treatment for eating disorders in children typically involves:
- Medical evaluation and management: Though it’s most likely that we’ll monitor your child’s progress on an outpatient basis, we can, if medically necessary, provide inpatient care as well.
- Ongoing individual and family therapy: Long-term success rarely occurs without intensive counseling to address issues of low self-esteem, distorted body image, family tensions, or social concerns. We facilitate discussions about your child’s self-imposed “food rules” and restrictions, and may even request that your child keep a food journal in which your child can safely describe his or her feelings about eating. We provide many opportunities for children and parents alike to learn how to communicate, cope, and heal.
- Nutrition education and counseling: Registered dietitians will help your child establish new patterns of thinking about and approaching food and will provide meal plans to slowly and steadily improve health and energy levels.
Overcoming eating disorders in children doesn’t happen overnight. It takes hard work and commitment, not only on the part of your child but also your entire family. Even when your child’s recovery is measured in baby steps, you can count on us to be with you every step of the way.