A recent study revealed a significant rise in eating disorder diagnoses and incidents of self-harm among teenage girls in the UK during the initial two years of COVID-19 lockdowns. Factors such as social isolation, anxiety stemming from disrupted routines, and school closures contributed to the increase, although the actual number of affected individuals may be even higher than reported by researchers.
The study, published in the Lancet Child And Adolescent Health journal, examined approximately nine million patient records of individuals aged 10-24 from around 2,000 general practitioner practices across the UK.
According to the report authors, there has been a substantial increase in recorded eating disorder diagnoses and episodes of self-harm among teenage girls in the UK since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.
This report coincides with the testimony of a former chief medical officer who asserted that lockdowns have harmed and continue to harm a generation of children.
Specifically for teenage girls aged 13-16, the study found a 42 percent higher incidence of eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa or bulimia compared to expected rates. For girls aged 17-19, the increase was 32 percent. Cases of self-harm among girls aged 13-16 were 38 percent higher than expected. No increase in self-harm was observed among boys or girls in other age groups.
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