More than 2 in 5 adults packed on more pounds than they intended over the past year.
If only it was just the “quarantine 15.”
Most people have struggled to maintain their weight during the pandemic, with 61% of American adults reporting undesired weight gain since the coronavirus outbreak. That’s according to a new American Psychological Association (APA) survey of more than 3,000 people released a year to the day since the World Health Organization (WHO) declared COVID-19 a pandemic.
Prior to the pandemic, about four in 10 Americans (some 93.3 million adults) were already obese, according to the CDC. And according to the APA’s latest “Stress in America” report, more than two in five of the surveyed adults (42%) revealed that they gained more weight than they intended over the past 12 months.
And they put on 29 pounds, on average.
In fact, one in 10 said they gained more than 50 pounds, which the APA notes is a textbook sign that people are struggling to cope with mental-health challenges. (Indeed, the report also found that one in three Americans is sleeping less during the pandemic, and more than half of parents said the level of stress in their lives has increased.)
A recent WebMD poll of more than 1,000 readers also revealed that more than half (54%) of respondents said that they’d gained weight “due to COVID restrictions” disrupting their health routines. Some 54% reported that they were exercising less, and 68% admitted that they were snacking more.
These extra pounds are troubling, however, especially during a worldwide health crisis. The National Institutes of Health warns that such significant weight gain poses serious long-term health risks. People who put on more than 11 pounds are at higher risk of developing coronary heart disease and Type II diabetes, for example, while those who gain more than 25 pounds are put at higher risk of stroke.
And in a sick twist, this extra weight that people have gained as a result of the pandemic can actually make them more susceptible to COVID-19. Having obesity increases the risk of severe illness from COVID-19, the CDC reports, and people who are overweight may also be at increased risk. Having obesity may also triple the risk of COVID-19 hospitalization. And as one’s body-mass index (BMI) increases, their risk of death from COVID-19 also increases.
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