U.S. Adults Gained Average of 2 Pounds a Month During Lockdowns

TUESDAY, March 23, 2021 (HealthDay News) -- American adults under COVID-19 lockdowns gained an average of more than half a pound every 10 days, which works out to 2 pounds a month, a small study shows.

That means that adults who maintained lockdown measures could easily have gained 20 pounds since the start of the pandemic a year ago, study senior author Dr. Gregory Marcus, a cardiologist and professor of medicine at University of California, San Francisco, told the The New York Times.

The study included fewer than 300 people nationwide and used weight measurements from Bluetooth-connected smart scales. The findings were outlined in a research letter published Monday in the journal JAMA Network Open.

"We know that weight gain is a public health problem in the U.S. already, so anything making it worse is definitely concerning, and shelter-in-place orders are so ubiquitous that the sheer number of people affected by this makes it extremely relevant," Marcus, told the Times.

Many of the people in the study were losing weight before shelter-in-place orders were issued in their states, Marcus noted.

"It's reasonable to assume these individuals are more engaged with their health in general, and more disciplined and on top of things," he said. "That suggests we could be underestimating — that this is the tip of the iceberg."

Excess weight has been linked to a greater risk of developing more severe COVID-19 disease, and the United States already has among the highest rates of overweight and obesity in the world. Some 42 percent of American adults over age 20 have obesity, while another 32 percent of Americans are overweight, the Times reported.

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