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In the survey, children were asked about a range of topics, including loneliness, sleep patterns and eating issues.

In total, 76 percent of girls aged 17-19 were found to have “a possible dietary problem” – up from 61 percent in 2017. Among boys of the same age, the figure was 41 percent, up from 30 percent. cent in 2017. 2017.

Difficulties with food

Children have difficulty with food based on answers to a number of questions on the topic.

Experts stressed that a “possible eating problem” did not necessarily equate to a disorder such as anorexia or bulimia, but said the worrying changes reflected the increase in the number of people seeking blood. help with such conditions and had to be taken “extremely seriously”.

The number of children and young people awaiting treatment for eating disorders has quadrupled in the past year, according to NHS figures.

The new study also found that more than half of 11-16-year-olds said they spent more time on social media than they thought.

Some 17% also admitted that the number of interactions, such as likes, comments and shares received by their posts, had an impact on their mood.

“Concerns must be taken very seriously”

Tom Quinn, of Beat, an eating disorders charity, said: “The effects of the pandemic on children and youth with eating disorders, or vulnerable to one, cannot be underestimated.

“The behaviors and thought patterns assessed in the survey, such as worries about eating interfering with their lives or believing they are heavier, are often an early indicator of an eating disorder. diet and should be taken very seriously.

“It is of the utmost importance that anyone who experiences these behaviors is assessed and treated as early as possible before they have the chance to manifest into something even more serious.”