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Obese people likely to suffer mental and physical health issues during the pandemic: Study

Updated on:12 June 2020, 15:42pm IST
While we are all struggling to wrap our heads around this never-ending pandemic, according to this study people with obesity in all likelihood might be the most affected.
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Obese people have been severly impacted during this pandemic. Image Courtesy: Shutterstock

While the covid-19 pandemic has impacted everyone’s mental and physical health, some people are taking a deeper hit. A study found that poor mental health and weight gain are the struggles obese individuals are facing during this Covid-19 pandemic. 

In a study published in the journal Clinical Obesity, researchers surveyed 123 patients managing their weight and did their physical and mental analysis.  

How did the research start?
The study analysed results from an online questionnaire conducted between April 15 to May 31. With an average age of 51, about 87% of participants were women. The average body mass index for these patients was 40.

What did they find?
After the analysis of the online questionnaire, it was found that nearly 70% of these individuals faced more difficulty in achieving their weight loss goals, while 48% had practiced less exercise time, and about 56% did lower intensity workouts. 

Study author Jaime Almandoz stated: “The major strength of this study is that it is one of the first data-driven snapshots into how the covid-19 pandemic has influenced health behaviours for patients with obesity.”

During these testing times, those struggling to shed their excessive weight found that their eating habits suffered severely. In fact, stockpiling of food increased in nearly half of patients and stress-eating in obese individuals reached 61%.

A study published in the journal The BMJ found that age, obesity, and underlying illness have emerged as risk factors for a severe case of covid-19, which can turn fatal. Many underlying illnesses that already impact obese people’s lives have certainly increased their risk of contracting the virus. 

Study author Almandoz also said, “Unchecked diabetes, hypertension, and other obesity-related comorbidities will create a huge backlog of needs that will come back to haunt us.”  

obese and covid-19
Obese people’s struggle of keeping off weight while keeping themselves afloat is a lot to handle during covid-19. Image Courtesy: Shutterstock

Social isolation has certainly added to the physical and mental struggle they’re already undergoing. The author stated: “When you throw in disruptions like social isolation, coupled with losing your job and insurance coverage, a potential disaster is waiting to unfold.” 

The study found that about 73% of the patients experienced increased anxiety and close to 84 % had increased depression.

Also, Read: This study links substantial weight gain to a high risk of having depression

With a high risk of death from coronavirus, struggling mental health and unhealthy foods as a crutch, life for obese individuals during this pandemic has certainly taken a hit. Health professionals can use this study to find effective strategies to minimize the physical and psychosocial health impacts from covid-19 among adults with obesity.

(with inputs from IANS)

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