CORONAVIRUS weight loss warnings could spike eating disorders after severe cases of Covid-19 have been linked to obesity, experts have warned.

During the pandemic, the British have seen a surge in public health messages related to weight loss and exercise.

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Experts have warned that young people were “bombarded” with weight loss news during the pandemicPhoto credit: Getty Images – Getty

The Royal College of Psychiatrists has now said that younger people have been “bombarded” with this rhetoric.

Studies have shown this before Overweight Britons are twice as likely to be killed by Covid.

Sir Simon Stevens previously said that high levels of obesity may have fueled British deaths.

To date, over 122,000 Britons have died after getting Covid-19.

More than a quarter of Britons are obese – with a body mass index over 30. Compared to just one in 35 in the 1970s.

Sir Simon, executive director of NHS England, warned of underlying conditions such as obesity and could explain why the UK fared worse than other nations during the pandemic.

He previously said that we “all carry too many pounds as a country,” adding that there is a “strong argument” for “taking obesity seriously”.

Dr. Agnes Ayton, chair of the faculty of eating disorders at the Royal College of Psychiatrist, said the coronavirus lockdown left many people unable to access their support networks.

She said: “Many public health messages also talked about weight loss and exercise during the pandemic, and this was promoted by the government because of the risk of obesity and severe Covid.

“But when you’re a younger person worried about your weight and shape, these messages bombard you thinking I should lose weight.”

The British are currently experiencing a third national coronavirus lockdown after cases rose again in December.

The pandemic has created uncertainty about work and personal life for many people.

At the start of the pandemic, the supermarket shelves were stripped of the essentials – creating food supply problems and leaving many people without essentials and healthy options.

After the third national lockdown was announced, the supermarket shelves were removed


After the third national lockdown was announced, the supermarket shelves were removedPhoto credit: Newsflare

Dr. Ayton said the pandemic created fear in people with eating disorders.

The psychiatrist said, “People have bought things that might last longer. Some of these foods – like pasta or cookies – can be a trigger for people who suffer from bingeing or bulimia.”

In December, data released by NHS England showed that Hospital admissions for eating disorders increased by a third in two years.

In 2019-20 there were 21,794, up 32 percent from two years earlier, and the number of under-18s rose by a fifth from 4,160 to 4,962 over the same period.

Almost half of the 418 recordings of children aged ten to twelve were of girls with anorexia.

Children under ten were also treated in hospital for eating disorders.


In some regions of the country, Dr. Ayton, treatment for people with eating disorders has been cut due to social distancing regulations.

There are currently around 455 adult inpatient beds for eating disorders in the UK.

Dr. Ayton said the vast majority of adult services are in poor condition or located in very small spaces.

The pandemic, she said, has meant that the same capacity cannot be operated and the waiting lists have grown again.

She said, “The number of people referred for admission with severe eating disorders is a small percentage … but you are talking about people who are at a really high risk or potential risk of death.”

Dr. Covering areas such as Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire, Ayton said patients would have to wait around four weeks for treatment before the pandemic, depending on the urgency.

Now she said they could wait longer than two months, adding that this has been seen even in patients with extremely low BMI (body mass index).

She added: “It puts enormous pressure on everyone, obviously on patients and the family, but also on the staff who want to help them. It’s very, very stressful. “

An NHS spokesman said: “The NHS is committed to early intervention in the treatment of eating disorders and has been providing funding for early bird pilots and recurring funding for community eating disorder services across the country starting this year.


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“Local areas will receive year-on-year increases in their community mental health funding over the long-term plan, and all healthcare providers are expected to work with other local partners to ensure mental health care for adults, including those with eating disorders are expanded and improved. “

If you or someone you know is struggling with an eating disorder, you can contact the beat hotline on 0808 801 0677.

The charity also runs one Online web chat where you can get advice.

If you need urgent assistance the best thing to do is call 999.

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