Ever since the pandemic has started, health experts are suggesting people to be more mindful about their health-related decisions. While half of the world has already become a victim of the deadly virus, the remaining are trying their best to take timely preventions and ditch the virus for good. Adding up to the other precautions and suggestions, eating habits have not received the attention that they deserved. A new study has revealed that the covid-19 pandemic has deeply affected six common unhealthy eating habits, which may invite more health problems for these people.
This study was conducted by the research team from the University of Minnesota Medical School and School of Public Health and its findings are now published in the International Journal of Eating Disorders (2021).
The research team identified 6 unhealthy eating habits that are affecting more and more people during this pandemic period. If left unattended, there are chances that they will emerge as an eating disorder, and may kill up to 10,000 people yearly. The data used in this study was obtained from the EAT project by the Neumark-Sztainer in 2020.
The ongoing Covid-19 pandemic has affected the entire healthcare system urging the policymakers to take viable steps, making sure that the virus transmission is controlled. All of these protocols are necessary because of their closeness to everyday life but collectively, the pandemic and these rules, and precautions are causing changed dietary habits. These dietary habits show up as unhealthy eating habits, six of which are most common in people.
Not many people have an idea but eating disorders are among the biggest causes of death related to psychiatric health. Therefore, it is necessary to control how it affects pandemic-ridden people.
The new study identified how stress, finances, psychological well-being, and eating habits are changed by the pandemic using qualitative as well as quantitative data. Based on the results, the study found six common unhealthy eating habits that are marked in maximum people. These include;
- Eating/snacking mindlessly, without even realizing the hunger
- Overall increased food intake
- Low appetite, or low dietary intake
- Stress eating to overcome pandemic fear
- Reductions in the diet caused by pandemic
- The reemergence of an exiting eating disorder
8% of the participants showed chronic unhealthy eating habits, 53% of participants reported moderate unhealthy eating habits, and nearly 14% reported snacking or binge eating. These eating habits were deeply linked with the inability to manage stress, depressive signs, and financial problems during this pandemic period.
There is already so much discussed between the link between Covid-19 and obesity but eating habits, on the other hand, don’t receive much attention. Despite being a threat these unhealthy eating habits are a risk factor for public health especially when the world is battling with a pandemic.
Most participants in this study included adults belonging to different ethnic, and economical backgrounds who may or may not receive the facilities and services that they require. The study also suggests that meeting the needs of the entire population including people from diverse classes or races will ensure equality in healthcare which is impossible otherwise.
Even if the pandemic is controlled in the next few weeks, its economic effects will linger for long beyond the availability of the vaccines. These results also indicate that financial issues can worsen dietary habits, increasing the chances of an eating disorder. However, all this is avoidable by making sure that all groups of the population are receiving the services that they deserve, including healthcare, financial help, among others.