A new study shows some of the impact lockdown had on American adults, and how much weight they gained throughout the past year.
The “Quarantine 15” (aka COVID-15) was once a a joke that started when the pandemic hit forcing the U.S. to into lockdown. While people fluctuated with their weight throughout 2020, not much was known about the pervasiveness of these fluctuations, because, you know, we had bigger things to be worried about. And while you may not know when you’ll be eligible to get vaccinated, at least you can say you now know how much the average American gained during the pandemic, thanks to a new study.
Researchers at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) were able to measure these changes with the use of Bluetooth connected smart scales. Their study, published in the journal JAMA Network Open, indicates that the weight gain experienced by many U.S. adults is a bit concerning and significant. Adults under lockdown gained more than a half pound every 10 days, or about two pounds a month.
“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,” Dr. Gregory Marcus, the senior author and cardiologist at UCSF, told The New York Times.
But there are some caveats. Marcus and his team conducted research with the data of less than 300 people spread throughout the U.S., making it very difficult to make assumptions about the rest of the American adult population. The group was mostly made up of white people, evenly split between men and women, with an average age of 51-years old. Weight measurements were taken between February 1 to June 1, 2020.
While larger studies will need to be conducted in order to get a clear picture of the amount of weight people gained over this past year and whether that will affect their future health, it is true that the pandemic makes it very difficult to remain active, promoting a more sedentary lifestyle even if people are trying hard to eat healthy and work out every couple of days. A lot of calories are burned doing everyday, non-pandemic activities, such as commuting to work, going to a store, or hanging out with friends.
Even if people want to make changes in their lives and be more active, it’s no easy feat. The world during the pandemic requires us to make changes if we want to burn the same amount of calories we used to back when we had more things to do.