Monday, March 8, 2021
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Food and Covid, because the pandemic has exacerbated eating disorders

The link between food and covid-19 is a very close link that became evident right away, starting from the images of the supermarket shelves taken by storm and that the media showed at the dawn of the pandemic.

On the one hand, the anguish of death that exploded with the advance of the virus evoked the need to fill the pantries, on the other hand it increased the anger linked to the images of wild bats sold as scandalous food in the Wuhan market. Then the first symptoms that became the object of narration and fear such as the lack of taste.

Also in this case the virus was similar to the throat and not only to the respiratory system.

Days passed, the first lockdown took place and, with it, the repopulation of the kitchens in our homes. Think of how in the last 20 years the home kitchen had become an optional, a passageway from which one passed to refresh oneself with a sip of water or coffee: meals consumed in the kitchen were a rare and occasional event.

Covid-19 has somehow performed the miracle of making the kitchens of each apartment “current” again and with it the sacred rite of eating at the table. Expropriated from the freedom of junk food or gourmet food, we have all been forced to reuse large doses of brewer’s yeast and with this the painful notes of our relationship with food have reopened.

In fact, when we eat, we never eat just to feed our body or to balance blood sugars, our relationship with food is much more complex than one might think and the trauma of the pandemic has cleared customs once and for all. such complexity.

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The data reported by the scientific authorities do not discount and show, for example, how eating disorders such as anorexia, bulimia and food addictions have increased by 30%. Eating disorders are a dramatic paradigm of how we poor human beings often project our deepest concerns onto food.

Faced with fear, helplessness and images of terror, we opened our mouths or closed our stomachs. The weight of Italians, as well as their eating habits, have become radicalized by increasing the number of people who ate much more or much less.

Not that we were in good shape before the pandemic, just think that Italy is the country with the highest rate of childhood obesity in Europe (especially Southern Italy), and that in the beautiful country about 3,000 children and young people die a year from problems linked to anorexia and bulimia. In our country, there are approximately 3 million people with eating disorders and 40% of the population is overweight / obese.

The pandemic has done nothing but blow on an already strong and oriented wind that points straight to the heart of a fragile population, that of adolescents, who should become the citizens of “tomorrow” and who risk growing with a very precarious psychophysical balance .

If it is true that obesity is one of the major risk factors for those who contract Covdi-19 infection, it is also true that we must start thinking about our well-being also for the post-pandemic, starting to think about how to help a population that has forgotten the importance of a “healthy” approach to food and nutrition.

We must dedicate resources to support the frailties of adolescents who, after the trauma of a daily life that has become psychotic (between DAD and uncertainties, time has shown itself to them with all the evanescence of a world without rules), risks finding in anorexia and bulimia an immediate response to silence one’s malaise and to dramatically communicate one’s despair.

If there is any good to be taken from this dramatic experience, I believe that we must return to investing time, thoughts and resources for our well-being that can only start from an ancient partnership that brings together what we eat and how we live.

As the philosopher Ludwig Feuerbach would say, we should never forget that “we are what we eat” and that health also passes through a little word that we have stopped saying for too long and that resonates with the term “prevention”.

It is true that taking Vitamin D protects us from the worst evolution of the disease from Covid-19 but it is equally true that it will be appropriate to resume the reins of health, social, political and cultural discourses that will have to bring the psychophysical balance of the patients back to the center of the agenda. Italians also through what passes on their tables and in their heads.


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