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  • jacquelinegalanty

How has Covid-19 changed the eating habits of young people?

Updated: Feb 23, 2021

There has been a great deal of discussion about the effects of the most recent winter lockdown on our eating habits.

  • The media widely reported a joint Ipsos Mori and King’s College survey of 2000 people indicating almost half had gained weight during this period.

  • Marcus Rashford placed a spotlight on the importance of free school meals and problem of holiday hunger for those at risk of food insecurity.

  • BEAT, the country’s leading Eating Disorder charity, reported a rise of 73% increase in people accessing their services.

But it’s not been bad news for everyone. We also hear about people who have had more time to shop locally, cook from scratch, eat fewer take-outs or cook and eat together more as a family.

This illustration shows some of the ways the winter lockdown has changed the nutrition of young people.

Bite sized tips

Nobody wants to make this lockdown more difficult than it already is, so self-compassion is key.

Tiny habits

Make small goals that are easy to meet, so you feel good about the change you have made. For example, if the goal is to drink more water, start with one glass first thing every morning. If you achieve it and feel good, you will be more likely to carry on or even drink more.

Focus on the positive

Rather than looking at the things that aren’t going so well and are difficult to stop or provide a coping strategy at a difficult time, focus on something positive. This might be eating more vegetables and fruit or learning how to cook a new savoury dish.

A note on nutrition and mental health

National data indicates a rise in mental health concerns of the nation and this can affect eating habits and gastrointestinal problems. There has also been a rise in the this sector for urgent referrals for Eating Disorders such as Anorexia Nervosa and Bulimia Nervosa. Working in an in-patient Child and Adolescent Mental Health (CAMHS) hospital, this has been a trend that I have witnessed.

Eating Disorders are easier to treat if detected early, so if you have noticed changes in eating or exercise behaviours that concern you, please get in touch to talk these through, or contact your GP.


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