Lockdown Effects of Obesity During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Our research suggests that we have to look beyond the direct effect of COVID-19 and mortality, and need to consider the medium- and long-term effects on non-COVID diseases such as diabetes.

WeightControl.com Interview with:
Associate Professor in Clinical Data Science and Honorary Consultant Cardiologist
Institute of Health Informatics, University College London
 Adjunct Associate Professor in Public Health
Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences, Kochi, India

WeightControl.com:  What is the background for this study?

Response: Severe obesity was on the UK government’s list of moderate risk conditions for severe COVID-19 on 16 March 2020(1), with increased importance for social distancing and other measures.  Obesity is in itself a risk factor for chronic diseases, including diabetes and cardiovascular disease, which themselves increase the risk of severe COVID-19. We aimed to project the number of excess deaths in severely obese individuals. In addition, the lockdown can lead to prolonged periods of inactivity and weight gain, which could lead to increased burden of chronic diseases, particularly diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. To provide these projections, we used national electronic health records representative of the UK population.

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COVID-19 Linked to Difficulty with Weight Control

With the current concerns that the pandemic may lead to increases in obesity rates, it’s important to develop appropriate and large-scale support options for those aiming to manage their weight.

WeightControl.com Interview with:

Dr Sarah-Elizabeth Bennett
Senior Research Associate
Slimming World, UK

WeightControl.com:  What is the background for this study?

Response: This research is part of a larger Health and Wellbeing study, investigating the behaviour changes made by members of Slimming World, the UK’s largest group-based weight management organisation. New members were surveyed regularly over the course of one year and a representative sample of non-members were also surveyed at similar timepoints for comparison. The survey at the six-month point coincided with lockdown, so questions were added to learn more about how lockdown measures had impacted the nation’s health, wellbeing, and lifestyle behaviours. The following findings were based on the responses of 222 members who had completed all 3 surveys to-date and 637 non-members.

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