ED Visits Up for Eating Disorders Across All Ages During Pandemic

Hospital admissions increased only for adolescents, while decrease was seen for adults, especially those aged 41 to 105 years
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Medically Reviewed By:
Meeta Shah, M.D.

WEDNESDAY, Oct. 4, 2023 (HealthDay News) -- During the pandemic, there was an increase in emergency department visits for eating disorders among adolescents, young adults, and older adults, while hospital admissions only increased for adolescents, according to a study published online Oct. 3 in CMAJ, the journal of the Canadian Medical Association.

Alene Toulany, M.D., from the University of Toronto, and colleagues conducted a cross-sectional study using linked health administrative data for Ontario residents aged 10 to 105 years during the prepandemic (Jan. 1, 2017, to Feb. 29, 2020) and pandemic (March 1, 2020, to Aug. 31, 2022) periods to assess the rates of emergency department visits and hospital admissions for eating disorders.

The researchers found that emergency department visits for eating disorders increased during the pandemic among adolescents aged 10 to 17 years, young adults aged 18 to 26 years, and older adults aged 41 to 105 years compared with expected rates derived from the prepandemic period (incidence rate ratios, 2.21, 1.13, and 1.15, respectively). During the pandemic, hospital admissions for eating disorders increased for adolescents (incidence rate ratio, 1.54) but decreased for all adults, especially those aged 41 to 105 years (incidence rate ratio, 0.72).

"Our findings reveal significant variations in the utilization of acute care services for eating disorders across different age groups," Toulany said in a statement. "This highlights the need for a nuanced approach to allocating mental health resources and expanding system capacity and resources dedicated to both adolescent and adult eating disorder programs."

Abstract/Full Text

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