HealthDay News — Almost half of U.S. adults report gaining weight during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a study published online in the January issue of Diabetes & Metabolic Syndrome: Clinical Research & Reviews.
Jagdish Khubchandani, M.B.B.S., M.P.H., Ph.D., from New Mexico State University in Las Cruces, and colleagues conducted a national assessment of weight gain in U.S. adults after the first year of the pandemic. An online questionnaire (3,473 respondents) explored perceptions of pandemic weight gain and the relationship between weight gain and sociodemographic characteristics, prepandemic weight status, and psychological distress.
The researchers found that 48 percent of respondents reported gaining weight, 34 percent remained the same weight, and 18 percent lost weight. Weight gain was most likely among those who reported being very overweight before the pandemic (65 percent) versus those who reported being slightly overweight (58 percent) or normal weight (40 percent) before the pandemic. Of those gaining weight, 11 percent reported gaining ≥10 pounds. There was significantly higher weight gain among those with anxiety (53 percent), depression (52 percent), or symptoms of both (52 percent). Significant predictors of pandemic weight gain were psychological distress, prepandemic weight status, children at home, and time since last body weight check.
“Population health promotion strategies in the pandemic should emphasize stress reduction to help individuals manage body weight and avoid chronic diseases in the future,” the authors write.