Sheltering in place has led to serious weight gain of up to 16 pounds for 76 percent of Americans, says a new study commissioned by Nutrisystem, a commercial weight- loss product and service provider.
Another 63 percent of U.S. adults admitted they are now prioritizing post-quarantine weight loss to counteract the dietary choices they have made during the coronavirus lockdowns, which began in mid-March. Other difficulties the survey highlighted were that 42 percent of Americans have been struggling to stay physically active and maintain a consistent meal schedule while 34 percent are having a hard time staying motivated while they work from home.
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Long before the coronavirus pandemic hit the U.S., the obesity rate was 42.4 percent, according to an updated CDC Adult Obesity Facts page that cited data from its National Center for Health Statistics brief.
The government agency also cited a study from Health Affairs that estimated annual medical costs for people who are obese were $1,429 higher than their nonobese counterparts in the early 2000s. In 2008, the estimated annual medical cost of obesity in the U.S. was $147 billion.
More recent estimates from the National League of Cities – a U.S. advocacy organization for 19,495 cities, towns and villages – say the annual medical cost of obesity-related illness rose to $190.2 billion in 2012, which was 21 percent of the country’s annual medical spending at the time.
If obesity levels remain the same, the league estimates it will cost the U.S. around $549.5 billion in the next two decades.
Money aside, obesity has also been connected to a heightened risk for coronavirus-related complications, according to the CDC. Particularly, people with a body index of 30 or higher were noted to be “at increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19.”
Going back to Nutrisystem’s commissioned study, 45 percent of Americans are aiming to eat healthier and be more physically active. Thirty-five percent are outright trying to lose weight.
Market research firm OnePoll conducted the study from June 18 to June 22 and surveyed 2,000 adults to come up with its findings.