If you are a pediatrician reading this blog, I am most likely not talking to you. This post is made in the hopes that you, along with the rest of us, can reach out to the pediatricians and family doctors you know to help them better assess, diagnose and refer eating disorders cases. I cannot tell you the number of families who have come into my office several months after their child--usually following a very rapid, dramatic weight loss--has been given a "clean bill of health" by their family doctor.
These doctors have most likely been with your family from day 1 (or close to it) of your child's life and have rightfully earned your utmost trust and respect. They may have seen you through medical, family, financial, or other crises and been an unwavering voice of calm and reason. They walk on water.
Unfortunately, the parameters that many physicians review to assess weight loss in children are simply height/weight charts. If your child falls in the average range, or close to it, your doctor will likely, with a reassuring pat on the hand, tell you not to worry, remind your child not to take things too far, and send you home.
Bottom line: If your intuition tells you that your child's behavior is "off" when it comes to food, exercise, or body image, be sure to consult with an eating disorders specialist to get a second opinion.
No ethical ED practitioner will treat a child who does not need treatment-- and you might save yourself several very crucial months (or years) if there actually is a problem. The initial period post onset of an eating disorder is a key time for effective intervention. If you think something is wrong, it probably is. Get it checked out by someone who knows.