Covid-19 induced lockdown may be associated with an increase in symptoms associated with eating disorders, suggesting findings from new research.
The findings of the study were published in the journal Psychiatry Research.
A longitudinal study conducted by academics at Anglia Ruskin University (ARU) in Cambridge examined the behavior and attitudes of 319 health club members during the summer of 2020.
Researchers followed preliminary research into addictive or unhealthy behavior conducted in 2019 to examine the effects of the first Kovid-19 ban launched in the spring of 2020.
Participants completed an eating test called EAT-26, with an average age of 37, with ‘I am nervous about being overweight’, having an impulse to vomit with food ‘and’ I am extremely tired after eating Feel guilty
Researchers found that the average EAT-26 score was significantly increased in 2020, suggesting higher levels of morbid eating behaviors such as anorexia and bulimia, compared to post-lockdown, 2019.
At the same time, however, the study showed a decrease in post-exercise addiction symptoms, while individual exercise levels increased from 6.5 hours per week in 2019 to 7.5 hours per week post-lockdown in 2020.
We cannot say with certainty that Kovid-19 is responsible for this increase in behavior associated with eating disorders, said Mike Trott, a PhD researcher at Anglia Ruskin University (ARU) who led the study. However, we know that people often use food as a mechanism for stress, and apparently many have been affected by stressful events and significant changes in the last 40 months.
If a future lockdown or enforced quarantine period is required, physicians working with people with suspected eating disorders, such as bulimia and anorexia, should closely monitor these behaviors.
Trott continued, encouragingly, we also found that the symptoms of exercise addiction had fallen after the first lockdown, but the average exercise rate increased one hour a week compared to 2019.
It may be that the participants in our study were eager for lost time to resume lockdown after their exercise routine and to exercise more. Regardless of the objectives, regular exercise has many physical and mental health benefits, so it is a positive finding, Trott concluded.