Covid-19 dramatically altered personal habits, largely for the worse: Study

Prashasti Awasthi Mumbai | Updated on October 23, 2020 Published on October 23, 2020

Such alteration in personal habits was magnified among obese people

The first phase of the coronavirus-induced lockdown has significantly changed personal habits, largely for the worse, of individuals.

The authors of the study observed that such alteration in personal habits was magnified among obese people.

Their global survey took into consideration the inadvertent changes in health behaviours that took place under the restrictions led by the pandemic.

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Leanne Redman, Ph.D., Associate Executive Director for Scientific Education at Pennington Biomedical Research Center, said in a statement: “The stay-at-home orders did result in one major health positive. Overall, healthy eating increased because we ate out less frequently. However, we snacked more. We got less exercise. We went to bed later and slept more poorly. Our anxiety levels doubled.”

“Overall, people with obesity improved their diets the most. But they also experienced the sharpest declines in mental health and the highest incidence of weight gain,” Redman said.

“One-third of people with obesity gained weight during the lockdown, compared to 20.5 per cent of people with normal weight or overweight,” she added.

Also read: ‘Covid-19 led to loss of millions of years of productive, happy existence’

The online survey was conducted in April. Over 12,000 people worldwide took a look at the survey and 7,754 completed the detailed online questionnaire. The respondents were mainly from the US, Australia, Canada, the UK, and more than 50 other countries.

The study revealed that there were no reported differences in vegetable intake from before to during the pandemic. However, an increase in healthy snacking was reported by 25.8 per cent of participants, whereas 43.5 per cent reported an increase in unhealthy snacking. Overall, 20.7 per cent perceived they were eating healthier and 35.6 per cent reported eating less healthy.

The report stated the total minutes spent in physical activity declined by 6 per cent and intensity-adjusted minutes declined by 8 per cent, while time spent jogging and running, which are more easily detected by watch-worn activity monitors, declined by 13 per cent and 10 per cent, respectively.

Leisure sedentary behaviours increased greater on weekdays compared to weekend days.

Eating meals from restaurants and consuming pre-prepared food declined from 1.98 times per week to 1.08 times per week. While cooking meals at home increased from 4.49 to 5.18 days per week.

The research paper was published in Wiley.

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Published on October 23, 2020
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