Quickly sweet things instead of a warm lunch – not everyone manages to eat healthily in lockdown.
Obesity and eating disorders
Nuremberg (dpa) – The corona pandemic is turning many people’s everyday lives upside down – and this is also noticeable in nutrition. “When it comes to nutrition, there is just light and shadow,” says Astrid Donalies from the German Nutrition Society.
Chips and soda instead of a warm lunch at school, noodles with pesto from the glass, because there is little time besides childcare, but also more fruit, vegetables and freshly cooked food instead of currywurst and fries in the canteen.
Eating is important in daycare centers and schools
Children from families with a low level of education could be the main victims. “It shows that the gap is widening,” says Donalies. Even in the lockdown, well-off families attached great importance to a balanced diet. In families with a rather low level of education and lower income, however, there is often a lack of knowledge of how to eat healthily. For many of the children from these families, eating in daycare centers and schools is therefore particularly important. “There are children who get the only balanced meal a day at school or daycare,” says Donalies.
Your risk of increasing in the corona crisis is after a
Study by nutritionists from Munich is larger. According to the representative survey of around 1,000 families, a good quarter of all parents and nine percent of those under 14 had put on weight in the course of the pandemic. Among the over 10-year-olds from families with low school-leaving qualifications, it was even 23 percent, as the experts write in the study published in the journal “Annals of Nutrition and Metabolism”.
Less exercise, more snacks
“The children sit around more at home. Sometimes they move less and snack more, ”explains author Hans Hauner, professor of nutritional medicine at the Technical University of Munich. Some of the children in the families surveyed ate more fruit and vegetables than before the pandemic. About a fifth of all children also reached for chocolate, chips and soda more often. Children over 10 years of age in particular consumed sweet and salty snacks more often.
A nationwide study by the University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf on the mental health and well-being of 7 to 17-year-olds also showed that many children have been living less healthily since the beginning of the corona pandemic. To this end, the research team surveyed more than 1,000 children and young people and more than 1,600 parents from mid-December 2020 to mid-January 2021. After that, many children and young people ate an unhealthy diet with lots of sweets, ten times more children than before the pandemic did not do any sport at all.
The nutritionist Hauner therefore fears that the corona crisis could exacerbate the problem of pathological obesity in children and adolescents – with possible long-term consequences. “Studies show that around 80 percent of obese adolescents remain obese in later adulthood,” says Donalies. And they then have a higher risk of diabetes, high blood pressure or cardiovascular disease.
Healthy Eating Day
Every year on March 7th, the «
Healthy Eating Day »attentive. The Association for Nutrition and Dietetics is organizing this for the 24th time. This year the focus is on diabetes mellitus, the causes of the disease and the right nutritional therapy. Due to the corona pandemic, however, there will be no day of action. However, this could be made up at a later point in time, according to the website.
Significantly more eating disorders
The Nuremberg Clinic is currently feeling another consequence of the corona pandemic. Since the end of the first lockdown, the specialists at the psychosomatic children’s ward have been treating significantly more children and adolescents with eating disorders. “There are about twice as many as usual,” says chief physician Patrick Nonell. “The anorexia stands out particularly.”
More stress in the family, less social contacts, the elimination of fixed daily structures and therefore also of fixed meals – all of these are risk factors that can promote eating disorders. Girls who suffer from anorexia, in particular, are often unable to cope with stress so well, says Nonell.
They suffered particularly badly from the uncertainty and loss of control in the pandemic. They tried to compensate for this by controlling their weight even more. “This gives them the feeling that at least that is in their own hands,” explains Nonell.
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