According to a new report staying home for a year is bad for your waistline. The average American has gained so much weight during quarantine, that the phenomenon is being coined the COVID 30.
American Psychological Association (AMA) took a survey of U.S. adults in late February and found that 61% of adults of 29 pounds since the beginning of the pandemic. 42% of people surveyed said they gained much more weight than they had intended to, with 10% reporting packing on over fifty pounds.
The AMA believes the inability to deal long term with stress is the culprit. “We’ve been concerned throughout this pandemic about the level of prolonged stress, exacerbated by the grief, trauma, and isolation that Americans are experiencing. This survey reveals a secondary crisis that is likely to have persistent, serious mental and physical health consequences for years to come,” commented APA CEO, Arthur Evans Jr, Ph.D. “Health and policy leaders must come together quickly to provide additional behavioral health supports as part of any national recovery plan.”
The study also shows that in addition to overeating, Americans are drinking more and sleeping less. 23% of adults are drinking to cope, though a December 2020 study puts that number much higher at 60%, and 67% are having issues sleeping. It’s worse for parents and essential workers.
47% of mothers with children in remote learning have worsening mental health, while over half of fathers have been eating their feelings and 48% are drinking more to cope. 54% of essential workers have been surviving by embracing unhealthy habits and 25% have been diagnosed with a mental health disorder within the past year.
“Weight gain is common in stressful situations. Once we notice that we have gained weight, we can take steps towards leading a more healthy lifestyle,” says Brittany LeMond, PHD, a New York neuropsychologist. Remember, stress can trigger overeating, so it’s important to not stress about the weight gain, but rather put energy and efforts towards developing a healthy and reasonable plan.”