New research into the lingering impact of the Covid-19 pandemic has revealed correlations to six unhealthy eating behaviors. The study found six key themes of eating behavior changes — mindless eating and snacking; increased food consumption; generalized decrease in appetite or dietary intake; eating to cope; pandemic-related reductions in dietary intake and a re-emergence or marked increase in eating disorder symptoms.
The researchers said that the most concerning findings are a slight increase or the re-emergence of eating disorders, which kill roughly 10,200 people every year — about one person every 52 minutes. “Eating disorders have one of the highest mortality rates across all psychiatric health concerns and therefore, it is important to try to make links between the consequences of the pandemic and disordered eating behaviors,” said researcher Melissa Simone from the University of Minnesota.
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For the study, published in the International Journal of Eating Disorders, the team included over 700 respondents. The study aimed to understand potential associations between stress, psychological distress, financial difficulties, and changes in eating behaviors during the Covid-19 pandemic through the analysis of both qualitative and quantitative data.
Approximately 8 percent of those studied reported extreme unhealthy weight control behaviors, 53 percent had less extreme unhealthy weight control behaviors and 14 percent reported binge eating.
The study also revealed that these outcomes were significantly associated with poorer stress management, greater depressive symptoms, and moderate or extreme financial difficulties. (IANS/SP)