Objective Evaluation of clinical intervention in behavioural eating disorders in toddlers.
Method We conducted a retrospective analysis of 24 children between 1 and 9 years of age who visited the paediatrician over the last 5 years with behavioural eating disorders without medical problems or history. A pedagogic parental program was started in the outpatient or inpatient setting (depending on the severity of the disorder) in a paediatric ward of a general hospital.
Results At presentation the toddlers showed growth retardation in weight (−0.9 SD) and height (−0.8 SD). 10 patients (42.7%) started with 10 months outpatient treatment and 14 patients (58.3%) started directly with 2 weeks of inpatient treatment. In the outpatient group, 4 (40%) succeeded and 6 (60%) failed and were enrolled in the clinical program. After clinical intervention 3 patients were treated successfully and 3 still had an eating disorder, bringing the success rate to 70%.
From the inpatient group 8 (57.1%) were treated successfully, and 6 (42.9%) failed and were enrolled in an outpatient program. After the outpatient intervention, all 6 patients still had an eating disorder.
Growth parameters showed an increase in weight of 0.2 SD and height of 0.2 SD in the group with successful treatment.
Conclusion Behavioural eating disorders can be treated in the paediatric outpatient setting; when outpatient treatment fails, short clinical intervention with a pedagogic program is a successful continuation. Herewith, paediatricians have a powerful tool for resetting behavioural eating disorders.