Update: More Effects of COVID 19

The National Eating Disorders Association recently reported a 41% increase in messages to its telephone and online help lines in January 2021, compared with January 2020. And, in a 2020 study of about 1000 American and Dutch eating disorders patients, more than one-third  reported that, due to pandemic restrictions,  they were restricting their diets and increasing “compensatory behaviors” like purging and exercise (Int J Eat Disord. 2020. 53:1780). Among the Americans, 23% said they were regularly binge eating and stockpiling food. Body image has also been affected by physical and social distancing. In yet another study, the authors reported that anxiety and stress directly linked to COVID-19 could be causing a number of negative body image issues among women and men (Pers Individ Dif. 2021.15:170). Among 506 British men and women, anxiety and stress were associated with a greater desire for thinness, and a significant percentage reported having body dissatisfaction. Among the men, COVID-19-related anxiety and stress was associated with a greater desire for muscularity and dissatisfaction with percentage of body fat.  Among the women, messages about self-improvement may have led to their increased body dissatisfaction and to a greater desire for thinness.

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