*The following is excerpted from an online article posted on MedicalXpress.
The number of adolescents admitted to the hospital for severe illness from eating disorders has increased significantly during the COVID-19 pandemic, new research suggests.
At one center, the number of hospital admissions among adolescents with eating disorders more than doubled during the first 12 months of the pandemic, according to the study that appears in a pre-publication of Pediatrics.
The 125 hospitalizations among patients ages 10-23 at Michigan Medicine in those 12 months reflect a significant increase over previous years, as admissions related to eating disorders during the same timeframe between 2017 and 2019 averaged 56 per year.
“These findings emphasize how profoundly the pandemic has affected young people, who experienced school closures, canceled extracurricular activities, and social isolation. Their entire worlds were turned upside down overnight,” said lead author Alana Otto, M.D., M.P.H., an adolescent medicine physician at University of Michigan Health C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital.
“For adolescents with eating disorders and those at risk for eating disorders, these significant disruptions may have worsened or triggered symptoms.”
The study also suggests the rate of admissions at the institution steadily increased over time during the first year of the pandemic. The highest rates of admissions per month occurred between nine and 12 months after the pandemic began, with rates continuing to climb when the study period ended in March 2021.