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Eating disorders among adolescents increasing since pandemic

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MADISON (WKOW) -- Local health officials have seen a spike in eating disorders due to the pandemic.

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In past years, the rates have been slow and steady, but during the pandemic rates increased.

"This is a national trend we are seeing locally as well with patients between the ages of 12 and 18," according to Dr. Paula Cody, UW Health adolescent medicine specialist. "It will be important for parents to look for warning signs."

There are several reasons as to why rates are spiking including:

  • Stress, which leads to unhealthy coping strategies
  • Lack of participation in in-school events such as sports and extracurricular activities, leading to the desire to create their own workout plans
  • Increased screen time, especially on social media which leads to comparing one's self to another

If you are a parent or guardian of a child experiencing eating disorders here are some helpful tips and advice:

  • Use protective factors such as eating as a family or doing fun activities together
  • Avoid using weight as a compliment or commenting on weight in general

For more information on eating disorders visit University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics | UW Health

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Jada Hoffman

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