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Eating Disorders: Paying Attention to Signs Can Save A Life

Eating Disorders: Paying Attention to Signs Can Save A Life

Woman discussing with dietician.
Nancy Keenan - Laurel Haislip Photography
Nancy and Norrie

Local custom homebuilder and real estate agent Nancy Keenan knew something wasn’t right with her 11-year-old daughter, Norrie. After expressing sentiments of frustration with her daughter’s continued picky eating, it was Nancy’s dance instructor, Desiree Nathanson, who put the pieces together. Norrie had an eating disorder.

The increasingly restrictive eating tendencies, the weight loss, the dangerously slow heart rate—it all made sense. As a board member for the Eating Disorders Information Network (EDIN), Desiree had a number of experts for Nancy to turn to for help. “Desiree and EDIN, they were the resource for me to find the nutritionist who ultimately diagnosed Norrie and hospitalized her. So, EDIN essentially saved her life because if it hadn’t been for their resources, I really don’t know what we would have done,” Nancy says.

Could your child be suffering from an eating disorder?

If Nancy could go back in time, here are some of the signs she wished she’d seen.

Extreme picky eating. Some children will restrict to the point of only eating three or four foods.

Ritualized eating. Eating foods in a certain order or arranging foods a specific way on a plate.

Diet talk. Nancy never thought twice about the diet books that laid around her house or what the news was saying about genetically modified organisms (GMOs), but her daughter was absorbing information about which foods were good and bad and using it to fuel her disorder.


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