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Impact of COVID-19 restrictive measures during lockdown period on eating disorders: An umbrella review.

Nutrition 2024 April 7
The COVID-19 pandemic has sparked or amplified many mental health problems. The aim of this study was to compile evidence from existing systematic reviews to provide an overall assessment of the impact of social restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic on people affected by eating disorders (EDs). PubMed and Scopus were searched up to August 16, 2023. Systematic reviews and meta-analyses were selected using the PRISMA 2020 statement. The quality assessment of the included studies was conducted using the JBI Critical Appraisal Checklist for Systematic Reviews and Research Syntheses. Eleven studies were included in this umbrella review. Six main categories emerged from the studies described in the review: dietary changes and psychopathological effects showed an overall worsening of symptomatology; in studies concerning the impact of isolation and restrictive measures, it was found that social distancing was associated with feelings of loneliness, anxiety, and depression; limited access to direct care was found and therapeutic changes were made; the influence of mass media negatively impacted people with ED; several studies reported positive findings regarding symptomatology; finally, studies regarding 'impact on vulnerable populations showed that vulnerable people are more at risk of reporting body image distortion and eating disorders. The COVID-19 pandemic has negatively impacted most of the population with ED leading to a worsening of specific symptomatology. In addition, this worsening of the condition may be caused by limited access to care and treatment, changes in routine, or to the negative influence of the media.

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