There’s a lot of talk of weight gain in all ages during the pandemic. Are you seeing this and if so, what health consequences could it have?
Dr. Carolina Urbizo
DePaul Community Health Centers
During the pandemic, we are seeing weight gain in patients of all ages. A large majority of children participated in virtual learning last school year, contributing to them being more sedentary and eating more. As for adults, some have been working remotely and activities outside of work have been limited, therefore increasing in sedentary life. With this weight gain in patients, we have seen more uncontrolled blood pressures, out-of-control diabetes, increasing strokes and increasing joint pains. In addition, the added pounds in patients have contributed to an increase in depression.
Walter Hoyt, MD
Pediatric and Adult-Congenital Cardiology and Electrophysiology
Increasing levels of obesity and inappropriate weight gain have been a growing problem prior to the pandemic, and studies in both adult and pediatric populations suggest that pandemic-associated changes in exercise and recreation have exacerbated the problem. Additionally, possible delays in non-emergent appointments likely makes the true change in prevalence difficult to quantify. Regardless, the impact of pandemic-related changes in organized sports and physical education is readily visible in many children’s physical and mental well-being.
Gabrielle Givens, M.D.
St. Tammany Health System
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought a host of challenges to our daily lives, and unfortunately for many adults and children, weight gain has been one of those challenges. Weight gain can have a detrimental effect on a person’s overall health. I personally am already seeing these effects taking place as I diagnose new onset type 2 diabetes or hypertension in previously healthy patients. In order to prevent long-term health consequences, now is the time to start replacing some of the unhealthy habits we have adopted during the pandemic with healthier ones.
Stephanie Losq-Sarkar, M.D.
Family Medicine Physician
Just as the pandemic has changed eating habits, it has had an impact on exercise habits. With the gyms being closed or limiting hours and access and people losing out on basic daily physical activity — like walking from the parking lot to their office — some people just aren’t getting the same level of exercise. However, it’s not time to guilt yourself. Cut yourself some slack. Eating is one of life’s pleasures and the pandemic has been so stressful, so it’s understandable that we ate more of our favorite comfort foods — and more often and in larger quantities.