From the age of two, Stacey Irvine has restricted her diet to basically one item: chicken nuggets. A side of fries adds the occasional vegetable. McDonald’s is her favorite supplier, but in a pinch she will eat the KFC or supermarket brands. According to the report in the tabloid Sun, she will occasionally vary her diet with a piece of toast for breakfast or a package of potato chips.
So it will surprise no one that the 17-year-old collapsed at work and had to be rushed to the hospital. Her doctors in Birmingham, U.K., attributed her breathing problem to anemia and swollen veins in her tongue, brought on by her fast-food diet.
She is back home on a high-vitamin regimen, but the young woman still loves her nuggets. She told the Sun:
I share 20 with my boyfriend with chips….I just couldn’t face even trying other foods. Mum gave up giving me anything else years ago.
Assuming she eats eight of the nuggets and gives the other dozen to her boyfriend, she makes a large dent in recommended daily requirements of fat (36%) and sodium (30%) with just that one meal. A small order of fries adds another 18% fat and 7% sodium. So even before dipping sauce, that one meal serves up 54% of her fat allowance and 37% of her sodium allowance. If she dips her nuggets or fries into some sort of sauce, she takes in more fat and salt with that one serving than a healthy diet would include in a full day.
She is ingesting some nutrients, of course. The eight nuggets and side of fries give her small daily percentages of three recommended nutrients: calcium 2%, iron 8%, Vitamin C 12%.
What parents can deal with as “picky eating” for a two-year-old has to be viewed as something more serious when it continues for fifteen years. The good news is the health community has made some strides in dealing with it. There are treatment programs for what is often termed “selective eating disorder”. Perhaps now that Stacey’s eating problem has landed her in hospital, the family will be able to get her the help she so clearly needs.
The young women in the videos below speak frankly about their struggles with selective eating disorder.
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