Insufficient Food May Cause Depression, Anxiety Amidst COVID-19 Pandemic – Study Finds

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The on-going Coronavirus pandemic has affected our lives in many ways. From being locked at home for months to recession and economic slowdown – the world faced multiple challenges during this phase. And what came as a major threat was deterioration of mental health. Social distancing and job loss made people lonely and depressed. While we are trying to adapt to the ‘new normal’ life, depression, anxiety, panic attacks et al still remain a concern for all. But did you know even insufficient food at home can also disturb your mental health? Yes, you heard it right!

A new study linked food insufficiency during the COVID-19 Pandemic with depression and anxiety. According to the study, there is a 25 percent increase in food insufficiency (extreme case of not having enough food at home) during this phase, which leads to depression. “Receipt of free groceries or meals alleviated the mental health burden of food insufficiency,” the study further stated. The findings were published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

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“Many of these individuals have experienced job loss and higher rates of poverty during the pandemic,” explained Jason Nagata, MD, MSc, assistant professor of pediatrics at the University of California, San Francisco and lead author of the study.

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A detailed study was conducted on 63,674 participants in 2020. It was found that 65 percent of the participants reported of anxiety and 52 percent reported depressive symptoms in the week prior to completing the survey. And it was inferred that hunger, exhaustion and the idea of not having enough food at home “may worsen depression and anxiety symptoms.”

Hence, the researchers suggest that there should be regular mental health screening and people suffering from these threats must be provided enough support and resources to overcome the situation.

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