05/03/2013 01:07 EDT | Updated 07/02/2013 05:12 EDT

Pressure To 'Eat Healthy' Linked To Eating Disorders

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A child psychiatrist says children who are constantly told to "eat healthy" may end up developing eating disorders.

In elementary schools across Canada, students are told to eat lots of fruits and vegetables and avoid junk food, says Leora Pinhas, a child psychiatrist at The Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto.

But that constant message, Pinhas says, could lead to other health problems.

Pinhas started studying the link after seeing young patients who otherwise didn't seem to be at risk for eating disorders.

She said often her patients were overachievers, students who wanted to excel at everything — including healthy eating.

"The kinds of things that put you at risk for developing an eating disorder is the same personality that gets you to med school or law school," Pinhas told CBC News.

Pinhas says the message from schools is often too simplistic.

"They're not really about healthy eating, they're about how not to be fat," she said.

Pinhas says schools should leave conversations about healthy eating to parents.

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