Eating Disorders Program

Teen girl eating an apple

Untreated eating disorders may lead to significant medical complications, and can also be extremely difficult on teens and their families. At CHOC Children’s, we offer a comprehensive eating disorder program that includes adolescent medicine doctors, mental health professionals and specialized nutritionists to care for our patients.

The CHOC Difference

  • best-childrens-hospitalCHOC has a multidisciplinary approach to treating eating disorders which includes specialists from adolescent medicine, psychology, psychiatry, as well as registered dietitians.
  • We treat all eating disorders, including anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa and binge-eating disorder.
  • Our specialists address the unique physical, emotional and social needs of eating disorder patients.
  • We address the special nutritional needs of adolescents and teens.
  • CHOC adolescent medicine specialists communicate extensively with our patients’ health care team to ensure high-quality, coordinated care.
  • Your child will have access to a program case manager who arranges all appointments in the program.
  • We coordinate any required inpatient care through the outpatient program to ensure continued treatment and recovery.
  • CHOC specialists address the needs of the entire family.
  • CHOC provides patient- and family-centered care to our patients and families to meet the needs of your child in the best way possible.
  • We have the most comprehensive child life program in the region.
  • CHOC is ranked as a leading children’s hospital by U.S News & World Report.
  • We are named to The Leapfrog Group’s 2015 Top Children’s Hospitals list for safety and quality.
  • CHOC is among only 7% hospitals awarded Magnet designation, the highest honor for nursing excellence.
  • CHOC Children’s is recognized by Press Ganey for excellence in physician engagement with our families.
  • We are recognized with the Gold Level CAPE (California Awards for Performance Excellence) Award from the California Council for Excellence (CCE). CHOC is the only children’s hospital in California to ever earn this distinction.
  • CHOC is the first children’s hospital in the U.S. to earn the Beacon Award for Critical Care Excellence.

A Team Approach to Treating Eating Disorders

Treating eating disorders in adolescents and young adults can be complex and often requires a team of caregivers. At CHOC, our board-certified pediatricians and psychiatrists understand the specialized expertise and multidisciplinary approach needed to care for eating disorders.

CHOC specialists work together as a team to discuss your child’s case and determine the best course of treatment. Depending on your child’s condition, your appointment may include CHOC experts from our many specialties, such as adolescent medicine, psychology, psychiatry and nutrition.

Helpful Information About Eating Disorders

Understanding Eating Disorders

An eating disorder is an unhealthy obsession with food and weight. People with eating disorders eat – or avoid eating – in extreme ways. At least 8 million people in the U.S. are living with an eating disorder. The overwhelming majority – about 90% – are female.

These are the 3 main types of eating disorders:

Other eating disorders don’t quite fit into any of the above categories and are usually classified as “eating disorders not otherwise specified.”

Managing eating disorders

Eating disorders can be treated successfully, but the answer isn’t as simple as changing eating habits because eating disorders are about much more than food. Therapy, including cognitive behavioral therapy, is a crucial part of treating and managing eating disorders. Eating the right amount of food and managing an appropriate level of physical activity are also key elements of a treatment plan. Some people may need medications, such as antidepressants, to manage other conditions affecting their eating disorder.

No one-size-fits-all treatment is available for eating disorders. Rather, treatment is specifically tailored to each individual.

Preventing eating disorders

Experts don’t truly understand what causes eating disorders. There are a variety of factors that contribute to the development of eating disorders, including personality traits, stress and societal expectations. Fortunately, you can take steps to help prevent eating disorders, both before the first symptoms appear or in the early stages.

Programs that promote healthy eating habits and a healthy lifestyle are one prevention method. A better understanding of how society’s unrealistic expectations influence body image are can also promote a healthier body image and prevent eating disorders.

Podcast: Warning Signs of Eating Disorders


Parents encourage their children to develop healthy eating habits, but extreme changes in a child’s behavior or attitude towards food could be a warning sign of an eating disorder. Learn the warning signs of an eating disorder, and what to do if you suspect a family member or friend has an eating disorder.

Adolescent Medicine Location

Thank you for your interest in the CHOC Eating Disorders Program. At this time, we are only able to see patients in our outpatient program that are insured through the CHOC Health Alliance, a CalOptima Health Network comprised of Children’s Hospital of Orange County and CHOC Physician Network. If you have concerns regarding your child's eating habits and/or weight, talk to your pediatrician regarding the possibility of an eating disorder, and request a referral to a psychologist.

CHOC Orange Clinic

CHOC Children’s Clinic – Primary Care

Building: CHOC Clinic | 1201 W. La Veta Ave. | Orange, CA 92868 | 888-770-2462

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UC Irvine

CHOC Children's is affiliated with the UC Irvine School of Medicine