Eating Disorders Among College Students Increased During Pandemic

Higher Education News International Studies by Erudera News Mar 24, 2022

Student experiencing eating disorders

College students have experienced eating disorders due to uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic as well as strict diets while in quarantine.

A study by the British Journal of Psychiatry, a leading international peer-reviewed journal covering all branches of psychiatry, has revealed that eating disorders among people under 30 increased by 15 percent in 2020, Erudera.com reports.

“Using the electronic health records of 5.2 million people aged under 30, mostly in the USA, we show that the diagnostic incidence was 15.3% higher in 2020 overall compared with previous years,” the study reads.

According to the latest figures by National Health Service (NHS), more young people are receiving treatments for eating disorder than ever before.

“The NHS continues to see record-high numbers of young people for eating disorders and it is vital anybody who might need care comes forward as quickly as possible so the NHS can get you any care you may need,” NHS Mental Health Director, Claire Murdoch, said.

Eating disorders including anorexia, bulimia, and orthorexia are considered mental illnesses and college students struggle with such disorders often. People with eating disorders usually eat too much or too little.

Other studies have also revealed that the pandemic has triggered eating disorders among youngsters.

College Campus study indicated that eating disorders among female college students increased by 9 percent and 17 percent among male college students.

The COVID-19 pandemic has also caused other mental health issues among students worldwide as a result of the total closure.

According to a survey by the American education technology company Chegg, COVID-19 has affected the mental health of 56 percent of undergraduate students. Some 16,839 undergraduate students aged 18–21 participating in the survey came from 21 countries around the world.

81 percent of students claimed that they had experienced increased stress and anxiety, while 17 percent said that they even sought support for mental health issues.

Back in 2021, university students in Scotland have also experienced mental health issues, according to the research published by the Mental Health Foundation (MHF), involving 15,000 students at 19 universities in Scotland.

74 percent of students in reported low well-being,  and 45 said they have been experiencing serious psychological issues that needed support from professionals.

Moreover, a survey conducted by researchers at Carlton University and published on The Conversation revealed that in Canada, 55 percent out of 1,000 international students had a high risk of developing depression, whereas 50 percent were at risk of developing an anxiety disorder due to the pandemic.

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