School health lessons ‘made our son anorexic after it made him paranoid about junk food’
Mr and Mrs Fieldsend claim that Jame’s battle with anorexia started after he was taught about healthy eating at school
James Fieldsend, 15, weight plummets to 4st 7lbsStarted restrictive diet after lessons on healthy eatingNow a healthier 5st 9lb after receiving medical advice
Parents of a 15-year-old boy whose weight plummeted to just 4st 7lbs are blaming health lessons for triggering his life-threatening eating disorder.
Mr and Mrs Fieldsend, claim that James’s battle with anorexia started aged seven, when he was taught about healthy eating at school.
Prior to the education programme he ate a balanced diet but they noticed that he got increasingly picky about food and would often skip meals.
And in October 2010 his family were forced to seek medical help when James’s weight fell below 5st and he had a body mass index (BMI) of just 14 – anything below 18.5 is deemed
Doctors diagnosed him with anorexia and warned him if he didn’t change his eating habits he would end up hospitalised.
Explaining her son’s gradual weight loss Mrs Fieldsend, from Hull, East
Yorkshire, said: ‘He took part in an exercise in which
pupils had to talk about the food they ate at home. They were given a
star if healthy meals and a cross for junk food.
‘At first we thought he was just picky and he would grow out of it, he would only eat lean ham, apples and cereal.
‘If I offered him a bag of crisps he’d say they were bad for him. But we just thought it was a fad.
‘He was about 11 or 12 when we thought ‘there’s something not quite right’.’
James got increasingly picky about the foods he ate and would often skip meals
James, who stands at 5ft 1in, started to report various health complications as his weight dropped.
Aching joints, anaemia and heart palpitations were just some of the symptoms he developed.
Fearing for his life, his parents were even checked that he was still breathing throughout the night.
But the teenager insisted: ‘I’m just not interested in food. I don’t want to eat but I think
I look normal.’
However his parents sought medical advice and James finally admitted he was suffering from an eating disorder.
Doctors told him to put on 1lb in two weeks and warned him of the various health implications that could ensue if he didn’t change his ways.
If I offered him a bag of crisps he’d say they were bad for him. But we just thought it was a fad.
After increasing his food intake and consulting a dietician James now weighs 5st 9lbs and has a BMI
of about 15.8.
Although his health has since improved, his parents say it is an ‘endless cycle’ and worry his weight could drop again at anytime.
James, who is studying at Hull College, has high hopes of going to university,
becoming a games designer and working in Japan.
But his parents fear he may never
move from their family home, as he refuses to leave the house when he is
not at college and does not socialise with other teenagers.
Mr and Mrs Fieldsend attended a Walking On Eggshells course, which gave them a better understanding of eating disorders.They discovered James has a restricted selective eating disorder.
Mr Fieldsend added: ‘I used to tell James that he needed to eat and I would get quite irate.
‘I also said to him he was looking well when he put some weight on, but we have learnt not to do that.
‘He doesn’t go out, he has friends at
college but he doesn’t see them out of the classroom and he only speaks
to friends online.’
The family have been helped by Support and Empathy for people with Eating Disorders group, also known as Seed.
They have now called for more understanding of anorexia in boys.
If you’re having problems with an eating disorder please contact www.b-eat.co.uk