Some people may have gained more than 1.5 pounds on average per month during Covid-19 shelter-in-place orders last March and April.
Forty-five out of 50 US state governments issued shelter-in-place orders from March 19 to April 6, 2020, to slow the novel coronavirus spread.
According to a research letter published Monday in JAMA Network Open, a research team looked at nearly 7,500 weight measurements from 269 participants between February 1 and June 1, 2020. The participants were part of the Health eHeart Study, and their weight measurements came from Bluetooth-connected intelligent scales.
“On average, they gained about 0.6 pounds every ten days or 1.8 pounds per month during a shelter in place orders,” said cardiologist Dr Gregory Marcus, one of the authors of the research and a professor of medicine at The University of California San Francisco.
This weight gain was irrespective of geographic location or comorbidities, the research found. The study authors said the implementation of shelter-in-place orders also corresponded with a decrease in daily step counts and an increase in self-reported overeating.
These two corresponding factors track what experts think is behind an increase in weight gain during the pandemic. CNN health and nutrition contributor Lisa Drayer names comfort eating, specifically, as an issue during this stressful time.
During a lockdown, many have turned to high-calorie foods like sweets or pizza to relieve stress when there is little else to do or look forward to, and working from home allows the kitchen to be just within reach all day long.
Just as the pandemic has changed eating habits, it has impacted exercise habits, too, according to Dr Caroline Apovian, co-director of the Center for Weight Management and Wellness at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.
With the gyms that many relied on closed and people losing out on primary daily physical activity — like walking from the parking lot to their office — some people just aren’t getting the same level of exercise they did before the shutdown.