Study finds rates of hospitalization for women with eating disorders increased during the pandemic

In a study, researchers from the University of Pennsylvania found that shortly after the COVID-19 pandemic began, the number of people hospitalized for eating disorders, such as anorexia and bulimia, doubled compared to prior years.

The findings were presented online in JAMA.

“This cohort study used deidentified data and was deemed exempt by the institutional review board group of UnitedHealth Group,” according to the researchers.

“We followed the Strengthening the Reporting of Observational Studies in Epidemiology (STROBE) reporting guidelines.”

The researchers included over 3 million participants, most of which were females and in early adulthood.

“The number of patients with inpatient care for eating disorders remained approximately 0.3 per 100 000 members per month until May 2020 when it more than doubled to 0.6,” the research group uncovered. “This increase was seen across anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and other and unspecified eating disorders.”

“The number of patients with outpatient care for eating disorders increased from approximately 25 patients per 100 000 per month to 29 patients per 100 000 per month. Similar increases were not seen for the 3 comparison behavioral health conditions,” the study also concluded.

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