Losing and gaining weight in the emotional maelstrom of COVID-19

Losing and gaining weight in the emotional maelstrom of COVID-19

Pandemic stress is taking its toll. And in an irony not lost on scientists, some of the effects of that stress is making many people more susceptible to the ravages of COVID-19.

An American Psychological Association “Stress in America” poll shows the pandemic is playing havoc with our weight. Some are putting on the pounds — in fact, a lot of them. And others are losing far too much weight.

Oh, yeah — too many folks are also drinking too much.

A survey of over 3,000 adults taken in late February found 42% of the respondents reported gaining an average of 29 pounds since early 2020, when the coronavirus first hit the U.S. And one in 10 of those tell pollsters they gained at least 50 pounds, or nearly a pound a week.

For others, the stress is apparently causing a lack of appetite. Researchers say 18% of the respondents reported an average loss of 26 pounds. And a third of those polled say they are getting less sleep. In addition, nearly a quarter are drinking more in order to get through pandemic stress.

The bottom line is that many of us are neglecting our health in the age of COVID-19. Indeed, nearly half of those quizzed have even canceled health care appointments, a bad idea, crisis or not.

The researchers behind this poll say the results make them concerned that prolonged stress, grief and isolation amounts to a secondary crisis that will have serious mental and physical health implications for years.

They also note it’s important to recognize their findings show a disproportionate effect on certain groups, including Black Americans and Hispanics.

It’s always a good idea to look after yourself. That’s especially true now.

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