Tue. Nov 29th, 2022
The lack of physical activity and the abusive use of social networks triples the cases of eating disorders in children and adolescents

The lack of physical activity and the abusive use of social networks triples the cases of eating disorders in children and adolescents

As a consequence of the pandemic, in the last two years there has been an alarming increase in the use of screens and social networks by children and adolescents.

This fact is having a negative impact on their physical and mental health (increase in cases of myopia, insomnia, behavioral disorders, nervous tics …), in addition to negatively impacting their eating habits and the practice of physical activity. Games and activities to stimulate the development of kid from 2 to 3.

Not in vain, an investigation published in the ‘Journal of Negative & No Positive Results’ , warned a few months ago of the significant relationship between the frequency of use of social networks and the appearance of eating behavior disorders during childhood and adolescence , something of which the experts of the COVAP Cup and the APE Foundation for the Prevention and Eradication of Eating Disorders also warn.

Eating disorders and their relationship with social networks

According to experts such as Dr. Ignacio Jáuregui, a psychiatrist and psychologist at the APE Foundation, eating disorders during childhood and adolescence multiplied by three during confinement .

Behind this alarming increase, two causes would be found, mainly:

– On the one hand, there would be the abusive use of social networks by adolescents, which increases the risk of suffering from emotional and mental disorders, as well as problems of self-esteem, stress and anxiety, since the physical is the main letter of introduction to others. Do not educate your children to obey you, educate them for good decisions.

In addition, Dr. Jáuregui warns of the negative information that we frequently find on social networks , and to which adolescents are especially vulnerable. Such would be the case of those advertisements or profiles that “only seek to sell exercises, diets and ideal styles, which do not have the endorsement of experts” , and therefore can be dangerous for this vulnerable stage of life.

– On the other hand, I would also highlight the abandonment of physical activity by children and adolescents in the last two years. And it is that according to some studies, seven out of ten people now do less physical exercise than before the pandemic , a condition that has especially affected children.

Faced with this reality, experts insist on how important it is to make sure that our children practice enough sports ( especially when they reach adolescence ), since physical exercise constitutes a “double remedy” by keeping children away from screens at while promoting their healthy habits.

“In sports environments, parents and coaches have an important role in promoting a critical awareness that helps the youngest to internalize healthy lifestyle habits and avoid inappropriate behaviors , such as restrictive diets or excessive intake” – Dr. Jáuregui has affirmed.

Thus, the latest recommendations published by the WHO for healthy growth and development in childhood emphasized the importance of reducing screen time and increasing physical activity outdoors .

The importance of caring for the mental health of children and adolescents

Experts, pediatricians and psychiatrists have long warned of the devastating consequences for the mental health of children and adolescents that the pandemic has brought with it.

It is estimated that psychiatric emergencies have increased by 50% , especially in adolescents, in addition to quadrupling hospital admissions and tripling eating disorders .

Let us remember that adolescence is a particularly vulnerable stage of life due to the number of physical and maturational changes that occur, and that can negatively affect mental health.

According to WHO data, mental health problems affect more than 300 million people worldwide, and in many cases they begin to manifest themselves after the age of 14.

The pandemic -and everything that has entailed- has aggravated the appearance of these and other problems, which is why measures are urgently needed to put an end to these alarming figures and protect our children and adolescents; two of the most vulnerable groups .