Rise in childhood eating disorders an “unprecedented crisis”: SickKids CEO

SickKids is raising the alarm after reporting a startling growth in the number of eating disorders among Canada’s youth as result of the pandemic and the ensuing lockdowns.

According to an interview with the Toronto Sun, President and CEO of SickKids Dr. Ronald Cohn called the issue an “unprecedented crisis.”

“Our eating disorder unit has very high numbers that we have never seen before,” said Dr Cohn. 

“It’s part of the evidence that I’ve been saying since May that kids are the unheard voices of this pandemic.”

According to Dr. Cohn, one contributing factor to the increase is the stress the pandemic is putting on children. 

“I think we often don’t realize that the stresses of this pandemic — because children are exposed to media and social media and conversations around the dinner table — are having a huge impact,” said Dr Cohn. 

“It’s really important that you openly address [the pandemic] but at the same time what sometimes unfolds on social media in terms of exaggerated anxiety and drama is sometimes really not healthy.” 

The issue of children’s health during the coronavirus pandemic has once again reared its head. 

In October, Ontario Ministry of Health data revealed that the pandemic and its restrictions have decimated the quantity of surgeries being performed on children by nearly 60%. 

In 2019, 28,844 child surgeries were undertaken, while in 2020 there were only 11,230 operations performed. 

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