Americans Gained 2 Pounds a Month During Lockdowns

There’s no doubt that most of us packed on the pounds during the pandemic. With the second summer of COVID-19 approaching, many Americans want to slim down for bathing suit season after spending months cooped up at home binge eating and watching television.

According to The New York Times, a new study found that, on the average, adults gained nearly 2 pounds a month during a four-month observational period. Researchers used measurements from Bluetooth-connected smart scales to calculate their data.

The study was published Monday in JAMA Network Open and linked the weight gain to shelter-in-place or SIP orders issued by 45 out of 50 state governments to stem the tide of the COVID-19 pandemic during the early surge.

“The initial SIP coincided with an observed decrease in daily step counts, likely reflective of changes in physical activity and patterns of daily living, as well as concurrent self-reported increases in snacking and overeating,” wrote the researchers in their report.

Dr. Gregory Marcus, a cardiologist and electrophysiologist at the University of California San Francisco, says that the adults in the study gained more than a half a pound every 10 days which adds up to nearly two pounds monthly, according to the Times.

Marcus, the senior author of the research study, said that Americans who kept up their lockdown habits could have easily gained 20 pounds over the course of a year.

“We know that weight gain is a public health problem in the U.S. already, so anything making it worse is definitely concerning, and shelter-in-place orders are so ubiquitous that the sheer number of people affected by this makes it extremely relevant,” said Dr. Marcus.

The 269 study participants were asked to track their weight regularly using Bluetooth-connected smart scales from February 1 2020 to June 1, 2020, according to the PhillyVoice. While the researchers acknowledged that the study was small, they said it still had important implications for the American public.