Sharp Rees-Stealy

Doctors Warn About Pandemic Weight Gain

Dr. Olulade notes her patients are telling her they’ve been eating and drinking more leading to weight gain

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Some people may remember getting the freshman 15 in college. Well, now there's the COVID or quarantine 15—pandemic-induced weight gain that has doctors concerned about the health risks.

"I’m upset we're going through quarantine and I’m going to eat through it," said Meredith Mockler.

The traveling nurse admits the pandemic blues have made her intimately familiar with the quarantine 15.

"I’ve gained the quarantine 15. Oh!  Absolutely,”  exclaimed Mockler.  “I’ve been sitting at home eating pizza rolls and not doing much else.”

Mockler is not alone, it’s something that Dr. Abi Olulade says has become quite common at Sharp Rees-Stealy.

Olulade notes her patients are telling her they’ve been eating and drinking more leading to weight gain.

The peer-reviewed medical journal, Obesity, highlights that during these times of coronavirus quarantine is of, "Great concern because small changes in body weight in relatively short periods can become permanent and lead to substantial weight gain over time."

Olulade says that weight gain can lead to other health issues.

“It’s important to realize that number one, weight gain increases the risk of obesity and chronic health issues like hypertension, diabetes, and high cholesterol. We know that those are some of the conditions that can make you at increased risk of getting severely ill if you do get COVID-19."

The study also shows that during the pandemic, people have been buying more comfort foods. Things like potato chips, ice cream, and alcohol.

The Medical Journal also notes Google trends show more searches for restaurants and baking terms while there was a decline in searches for healthy eating.

Those trends are habits that can have an impact on your immunity for fighting the coronavirus.

“That’s important to realize that you should eat a healthy diet as much as possible. And exercise is a very important part of maintaining your immunity and your immune system. So, if you don't exercise enough then that can cause weight gain as well," Olulade said.

And while some people may believe that the perfect weight may be “model” skinny, Olulade says the best way to define your weight is by using the body mass index (BMI).

If you’d like to learn more about it or need help with nutrition, Sharp Hospitals have weight management programs.

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