The very strict confinement last spring seems to have had a catalytic effect on eating disorders among young people where, from the end of May, a marked increase in emergency hospitalizations was noted.
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The phenomenon affecting those under 18 has been observed all over the province: at the Sainte-Justine Hospital, at the Montreal Children’s Hospital, in Sherbrooke and even in Quebec.
Have young people lost their bearings because of the exceptional situation in the province? This is the hypothesis explored by experts, including Dr Olivier Jamoulle, pediatrician in adolescent medicine at CHU Sainte-Justine.
“During confinement, our clinic remained open, but we had a little less consultations for classic eating disorders. Suddenly, towards the end of May and the beginning of July, there appeared a high number of requests for consultations, visits to the emergency room, and even hospitalizations of young people who had put themselves in fashions. restrictions and physical hyperactivity. They lost weight and became in poor health, ”explains Dr. Jamoulle in an interview with Pierre Bruneau.
While some young people had already started to develop an eating disorder before confinement, others, who wanted to do well by getting back into shape with exercise and a strict diet, made themselves ill.
“They started to want to eat better, eat ” health ” by cutting sugars, restricting certain foods and doing excessive physical activity,” explains the pediatrician.
The tendency to go out for a run and be more active during confinement has been seen in adults, but in some adolescents the excess has had serious consequences: including a slowed heartbeat, lower blood pressure, and blood pressure. renal failure.
“A good half of these young people have recovered, and since returning to school in September, there has been a decrease in requests for consultations for these problems. Perhaps the resumption of school activity will help us to restructure the schedules, and for these young people who were in a fit of physical activity and food restrictions, they will perhaps get better with the resumption of classes ” , judge the pediatrician.
He insists that the majority of teens have been resilient in the face of confinement, but still urges parents to be vigilant, especially if they see excessive behavior, and even more so if school had to be once again. no longer stopped due to the pandemic.