Tips for CYP feeding or eating disorders

Tip Sheet 2 - What to look out for

Who is this for?

These tips have been developed for professionals working across health care; from primary and universal care to hospital, general paediatric services right through into specialist CYPMHS.



This is the second of four tip sheets to provide you with quick access learning on feeding or eating disorders in children, and young people. Infants 0-2 years are covered in a fifth, separate tip sheet.

There are markers for eating disorders across mind-body-behaviour-relationship domains so look out for them all. Do not make the mistake of only looking in one domain.

This tip sheet aims to help you spot signs and symptoms and look out for problems early.




The act of getting rid of food/fluids from your body in order to stop yourself gaining weight, for example by making yourself vomit or by misusing laxatives, diuretics etc.

Binge eating:

A binge is where people eat more OR differently and feel unable to stop or control what they are eating even when not hungry, and to the point of being uncomfortable. Some young people develop binge eating disorder (BED) - a serious condition where people repeatedly eat very large quantities of food without feeling like they’re in control of what they’re doing.


Compulsion to do excessive exercise in order to lose or control weight

Eating disorders have one of the highest mortality rates amongst all mental disorders

Who gets feeding or eating disorders?

The mind domain: psychological features of eating disorders to be alert to

Know the seven types of feeding or eating disorders so you can spot them: in each there are mind-body-behaviour-relationship features

Anorexia nervosa: what to look for

Bulimia nervosa: what to look for

Binge Eating Disorder: what to look for

Avoidant restrictive food intake disorder (ARFID): what to look for

Other feeding or eating disorders: what to look for

Eating difficulties not due to eating disorders

Further Information




Further elearning from NHS HEE & MindEd

Children and Young People - MindEd resources

All ages - NHS HEE TEL Resources


These tips have been curated, drawn and adapted from a range of existing learning, including MindEd, NHSei, NICE, MMEEDs guidance, NHS HEE elfh/BEAT/RCPsych resources. Extracts from the MMEEDs are included with permission courtesy of the MMEEDs team.

The content has been edited by Dr Mima Simic (MindEd CYP Eating Disorders Editor) and Dr Raphael Kelvin (MindEd Consortium Clinical Lead) with close support of the inner expert group of Prof Ivan Eisler, Dr Dasha Nicholls, Dr Rachel Bryant Waugh and Dr Simon Chapman.

A wider expert reference groups include BEAT (Kathrina Dixon-Ward, Martha Williams, Brooke Sharp), Dr Elaine Lockhart (RCPsych Child and Adolescent Faculty Executive chair), Gemma Trainor (MindEd Consortium RCN lead rep), Prof Ulrike Schmidt (Professor SLAM/KCL and MindEd Editor) Dr Lisa Shostack (MindEd Consortium BPS Lead Rep).


This document provides general information and discussions about health and related subjects. The information and other content provided in this document, or in any linked materials, are not intended and should not be construed as medical advice, nor is the information a substitute for professional medical expertise or treatment.

If you or any other person has a medical concern, you should consult with your healthcare provider or seek other professional medical treatment. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something that you have read in this document or in any linked materials. If you think you may have an emergency, call an appropriate source of help and support such as your doctor or emergency services immediately.

MindEd is created by a group of organisations and is funded by NHS England, the Department of Health and Social Care and the Department for Education.

© 2023 NHS England, MindEd Programme 

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