Yes, the pandemic woke up a lot of people to the importance of a strong immunity – and yes, lots of treadmills and Pelotons were sold – but the question was – how long would this fad last? Would it become a long-term trend that would impact the declining health of Americans? Well, we have the answers courtesy of NPD as their latest study reports that spending on health & wellness remains higher than it was pre-pandemic by double-digits. Sales revenue doubled for air purifiers, massaging appliances, free-weights and sound machines.
However, when we take a look at two important areas: the foods we eat, and our kids – the story isn’t so rosy. A new report published on March 14 in JAMA Pediatrics that studied a total of almost 175,000 children found that between 2016 and 2020, there were significant increases in children’s diagnosed anxiety and depression, decreases in physical activity, and decreases in caregiver mental and emotional well-being and coping with parenting demands. After the onset of the pandemic specifically, there were significant year-over-year increases in children’s diagnosed behavioral or conduct problems, decreases in preventive medical care visits, increases in unmet health care needs, and increases in the proportion of young children whose parents quit, declined, or changed jobs because of child care problems. The pandemic worsened eating disorders according to the National Eating Disorders Association among Hispanic, Black and Asian people who are about as likely as white people to have eating disorders normally, but they are much less likely to receive professional help especially on college campuses where treatment is hard to obtain – especially as many programs rely on family support and often these students are far from home.
University of Wisconsin has initiated a telehealth support group to alleviate the problem and offer support. According to the Eating Disorder Center at the University, The rise in eating disorders is connected to “higher rates of depression and anxiety, as well as isolation and reliance on social media for interaction” and “the stress of the pandemic. “
The pandemic’s long-term effects on our population are greater than we are estimating and the role of the resources in every supermarket in the nation should be amplified to help solve the problems.