A first-of-its-kind global survey reveals that our personal habits were drastically altered by the initial phase of the COVID-19 lockdown.
The stay-at-home orders resulted in one major health positive. Overall, healthy eating increased because we ate out less frequently. We snacked more, however. We had less exercise. We went to bed later and slept poorer. Our levels of anxiety doubled.
The global survey analyzed the inadvertent shifts in health behaviors that occurred under the widespread restrictions of the COVID-19 Lockdown. Researchers found that among individuals with obesity, the lockdown’s effects were magnified.
“Overall, people with obesity have changed their diets the most. But the sharpest declines in mental wellbeing and the highest incidence of weight gain have also been experienced. “One-third of people with obesity gained weight during the lockdown, compared to 20.5% of people with average weight or overweight.”
The online survey was performed during the month of April. More than 12,000 individuals worldwide took a look at the survey and the detailed online questionnaire was completed by 7,754. The majority of the respondents were in the United States with half from Louisiana. Residents of Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom, and more than 50 other countries also responded.
Those who took the survey reacted to the pandemic in largely the same way whether they reside in Louisiana, elsewhere in the United States or abroad.
“This research is the first to survey thousands of people across the globe in response to stay-at-home orders on improvements in lifestyle behaviour.
The research team would like physicians and scientists to change the way they treat patients with obesity in two ways, said Emily Flanagan, Ph.D., lead author of the study and a postdoctoral researcher at Dr. Redman’s Reproductive Endocrinology and Women’s Health Laboratory.
- By rising the number of screenings before and after the pandemic for mental health.
- By remaining connected to patients/study participants through remote visits and telehealth to prevent irreversible health effects from the pandemic. So-called virtual visits will relieve the fears of patients about the safety of in-person visits.
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