(HealthDay)-When the coronavirus pandemic began, many began baking banana bread and sourdough bread at home. Stress diets are nothing new, and 2020 was a year of anxiety for many.
But researchers at the University of Southern California (USC) in Los Angeles wondered, “Are college students eating too much?” According to their new study, the answer is yes.
Scientists used data from ongoing studies, including the weight of participants in October 2018 and 2019, and May and July 2020. Researchers found that nearly half of the 1,820 students surveyed use food to cope with pandemics.
“For many, I think it’s a coping mechanism for coping with negative emotions, social isolation, and even boredom,” said research author Tyler Mason, an assistant professor at the USC’s Preventive Medicine Department. Said. “Our study found that women were more likely to engage in these behaviors, and that those who were previously depressed were more likely to engage in these coping behaviors. I did. “
Research participants have completed a checklist of coping mechanism behaviors, including “eating more food than usual” and “eating high-fat or sugar-rich foods.”
Approximately 48% of study participants reported one or more unhealthy eating behaviors. The use of food to cope with the pandemic was also associated with weight gain, especially for young adults with higher starting weights. This can have long-term effects on their weight trajectory, the researchers said.
“People who are already vulnerable are more likely to engage in these behaviors. Those who are already suffering from mental health concerns or mood problems are probably more likely, but we I think it’s possible given the high rates we’ve seen … Having never been involved in these types of behaviors may have led to these risk factors, and we’ve moved to these behaviors. It may be. ”
“One of the reasons is that we are all experiencing some of the risk factors for an unhealthy diet. Some of the risk factors are negative mood, social isolation,” Mason added. It was. “And now we are all experiencing them.”
The study noted that during the COVID-19 pandemic, Americans experienced travel restrictions and home orders. Americans’ finances, education, employment and lifestyle are affected and “cause high levels of stress, anxiety and depression.”
Young adults may be particularly sensitive to pandemic-related mental health concerns. This is partly due to the high interest in social affiliation.
The study was recently published online Adolescent Health Journal.
The authors proposed mass media messaging to combat unhealthy dietary strategies. They suggested that weight maintenance strategies, including self-weighing and self-monitoring, could help.
According to Mason, it’s important not to overemphasize or embarrass people for weight gain. Diet and food intake restrictions can also be unhealthy.
Connie Diekman is a food and nutrition consultant in St. Louis. She said, “My idea as a dietitian is,’Our children are experiencing the same things as us, and maybe more.’ Young adults, their challenge is that they are me. Perhaps much more important than adults because they are more social than us. “
Deekman has made some suggestions that anyone can use to reduce stressful diets. It starts with being more aware of what you are eating. Then evaluate what you ate and ask, “Am I hungry or was this emotional?”
If you find that you really like food like banana bread, ask how often you want to enjoy it and make it a part of your daily life, Deekman suggested. She said she would go through a process of slow change and eat a healthy diet step by step at a time.
You pay the price because your body keeps moving without good nutrition, but a healthy diet is the basis for keeping you healthy for the rest of your life, she explains. Did.
Deekman suggested that people start their day with a small diet containing protein and carbohydrates and plan a light meal all day to avoid excessive hunger that could invalidate logical thinking.
Eat slowly and enjoy what you eat, she said. Don’t feel guilty even if breakfast is eggs and small donuts. Don’t eat a dozen whole donuts.
Deekman added that it is important not to make people feel guilty about a healthier diet.
“We need to monitor it with young adults. They are very vulnerable. They are still trying to figure out their position in the world. We give them comfort. You don’t have to feel guilty about eating food, “said Deekman. “We need to help them understand what they are doing, and how can we do other things for comfort?”
Weight Disgrace Predicts Emotional Distress and Binge Eating During COVID-19
The University of Maryland Healthcare System offers more ideas for quelling pandemic binge eating.
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