New survey finds 71 million Americans have gained weight during the COVID-19 pandemic – Boston Herald

Posted: December 17, 2020 at 6:51 am

As many as 71 million Americans have gained weight during the coronavirus pandemic, and over half feel down about the way they now look, according to a new survey.

Sixty-three percent of people queried said that healthy lifestyle habits are hard to keep in the midst of COVID-19, 52% have been feeling depressed about the way they look, and nearly 3 in 5 are on a mission to lose weight, according to the survey commissioned by Boston-based Gelesis.

The biotechnology company partnered with research firm Kelton Global to conduct an online survey of 1,012 adults from Oct. 26 to Nov. 3. Kelton then used Census figures to determine quotas to ensure the sample was a reliable snapshot of the U.S. population, with a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1%.

While our survey has found Americans have been motivated to develop healthier habits amidst the pandemic, it has also brought to light how many Americans who want to lose weight continue to struggle, said Elaine Chiquette, Gelesis chief scientific officer.

Close to half 47% of people who gained weight said their self-esteem had decreased since March, the survey found, and as many as 40 million Americans who are trying to lose weight would give up social media if it meant losing 10 pounds.

Nearly a quarter 22% of those trying to lose weight said they would give up sex if they could lose 10 pounds, according to the survey.

Just dont take away their Netflix. In a year with limited entertainment or social options, only 17% said they would be willing to give up their favorite TV or streaming service.

One of the things that maintains healthy mood is social interaction, so its completely understandable that isolation influences our emotions, which has an impact on our health behaviors, including weight management, said Dr. Lisa Smith, director of Boston Universitys Center for Anxiety and Related Disorders.

People who are depressed because theyve spent months away from family, friends and co-workers not surprisingly may turn to food, which offers an immediate but short-lived boost, Smith said, so they often go to another round of food, and another, and another. And the weight they gain only makes them feel more depressed.

Seventy-one percent of those surveyed particularly women said their weight impacts how they feel about their identity.

One of the best antidotes is exercise, which, unlike food, not only helps control weight but also gives a long-lasting boost to mood, Smith said.

Exercise has a direct, biochemical effect, she said. Within 20 to 30 minutes, you feel better. And your mood stays elevated. Its one of the best anti-depressants.

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New survey finds 71 million Americans have gained weight during the COVID-19 pandemic - Boston Herald

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