- The survey ran during the month of April and covered 7,754 people
- The study proves that diseases like obesity affect health beyond physical
- Increase the number of mental health screenings during the pandemic: Expert
Washington: The initial phase of the COVID-19 lockdown, which was imposed through March and April in several countries, may have dramatically altered people’s personal eating and sleeping habits, according to a new study based on a first-of-its-kind global survey. The study, published in the journal Obesity, evaluated the inadvertent changes in health behaviours that took place under the pandemic’s widespread restrictions.
According to the survey, conducted by the researchers, including those from Louisiana State University (LSU) in the US, the lockdown’s effects were magnified among people with obesity.
The stay-at-home orders did result in one major health positive. Overall, healthy eating increased because we ate out less frequently. However, we snacked more. We got less exercise. We went to bed later and slept more poorly. Our anxiety levels doubled. Overall, people with obesity improved their diets the most. But they also experienced the sharpest declines in mental health and the highest incidence of weight gain, said study co-author Leanne Redman from Louisiana State University.
The survey ran during the month of April and included responses from 7,754 people and the majority of the respondents were in the US with residents of Australia, Canada, the UK, and more than 50 other countries also participating. It revealed that about one-third of surveyed people with obesity gained weight during the lockdown, compared to 20.5 percent of people with normal weight or overweight.
This study is the first to survey thousands of people across the globe on lifestyle behaviour changes in response to stay-at-home orders. The study demonstrates that chronic diseases like obesity affect our health beyond the physical, said John Kirwan, another co-author of the study.
The scientists believe physicians and scientists should modify the way they manage patients with obesity in two ways. One of these methods is by increasing the number of mental health screenings during and after the pandemic, said Emily Flanagan, lead author of the study from LSU. Flanagan said physicians should also monitor patients by remaining connected to the study participants through remote visits and telehealth to prevent irreversible health effects from the pandemic. The scientists believe virtual visits via telehealth checkups can assuage patients’ concerns about the safety of in-person visits.
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NDTV – Dettol Banega Swasth India campaign is an extension of the five-year-old Banega Swachh India initiative helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. It aims to spread awareness about critical health issues facing the country. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign highlights the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children to prevent maternal and child mortality, fight malnutrition, stunting, wasting, anaemia and disease prevention through vaccines. Importance of programmes like Public Distribution System (PDS), Mid-day Meal Scheme, POSHAN Abhiyan and the role of Aganwadis and ASHA workers are also covered. Only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and become a Swasth or healthy India. The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene.