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Unhealthy Eating Habits From the Pandemic

COVID-19 pandemic linked to worrisome eating behaviors in young people.

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Woman with unhealthy eating habits

By probing into how the pandemic affected eating behaviors in young adults (average age 25), investigators at the University of Minnesota Medical School and School of Public Health revealed correlations to six unhealthy eating habits:

  • mindless eating and snacking
  • increased food consumption
  • generalized decrease in appetite or dietary intake
  • eating to cope
  • pandemic-related reductions in dietary intake
  • re-emergence or marked increase in eating disorder symptoms

The study showed that these outcomes were associated with poorer stress management, greater depressive symptoms, and moderate or extreme financial difficulties. Most concerning was the re-emergence of or rise in eating disorders, which can be fatal.

Because the consequences of the pandemic will likely persist long beyond the administration of the last vaccine, it’s vital that necessary dietary interventions are easily accessible and widely disseminated to those suffering from or at high risk for these unhealthy eating habits.

See also: Pandemic Eating Habits


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Matthew Kadey, MS, RD

Matthew Kadey, MS, RD, is a James Beard Award–winning food journalist, dietitian and author of the cookbook Rocket Fuel: Power-Packed Food for Sport + Adventure (VeloPress 2016). He has written for dozens of magazines, including Runner’s World, Men’s Health, Shape, Men’s Fitness and Muscle and Fitness.

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