Pandemic-Related Eating Disorders On The Rise

Pandemic-Related Eating Disorders On The Rise

( – The COVID-19 pandemic has had a terrible impact on society. Hundreds of thousands of people have died from the virus. Many Americans have lost their parents, children, siblings, friends, and other loved ones. People also lost their businesses and jobs, causing widespread financial problems for many families.

Schools were closed, and kids were stuck home for months. As a result, their education and mental health took a hit. Suicide rates for children rose around the world. The pandemic was even blamed for a spike in divorces and break-ups. Now it seems there has also been an increase in weight problems.

Disturbing Findings

According to a recent survey by the American Psychological Association, 61% of Americans have reported weight problems since the pandemic began. The survey found that 18% of adults have experienced weight loss that they did not want, while 42% gained undesired extra pounds. The average weight loss and gain are 26 and 29 pounds, respectively.

The weight problems are impacting Americans from all ethnicities and age groups. Experts believe the issues result from the pandemic disrupting people’s lives, including their diets and exercise routines.

Dr. Donna O’Shea told Public News Service that the stress brought on by the pandemic resulted in people both under and overeating. For example, she said some Americans started not eating and “really put their health at risk.”

A Long Struggle

In March, the New York Times interviewed people with eating disorders about how they coped during the pandemic. The paper reported that doctors who treat eating disorders, like bulimia and anorexia, said the need for their services has sharply increased since the start of COVID.

One of the people who suffer from an eating disorder, Malinda Ann Hill, said that when she was moved to remote work in March 2020, she decided to go back into treatment for anorexia. She explained to the NYT that she knew the isolation at home was “going to be bad” if she didn’t do something to stop it.

The National Eating Disorders Association reported a 41% increase in the number of calls it received in January 2021 compared to the same month in 2020. One expert, Whitney Trotter, said she had seen an increase in relapses and people with new eating disorders.

Doctors believe that people can battle unwanted weight changes by taking small steps. For example, they can purchase a fitness tracker or use the one available on most phones to get more active. People can track steps and slowly work up to 10,000 per day (the recommended daily amount). Reducing or increasing caloric intake gradually can also help.

Finally, if you or someone you love suffers from an eating disorder, reach out to someone. You can call or text 1-800-931-2237 or chat with a professional by visiting here.

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