COVID-19 lockdown reduced mental health, sleep, exercise


The initial phase of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) lockdown dramatically altered personal habits, largely for the worse, according to a new study published in the journal Obesity.

The global survey evaluated the inadvertent changes in health behaviors that took place under the pandemic's widespread restrictions. Researchers found that the lockdown's effects were magnified among people with obesity.

The online survey study ran during the month of April. More than 12,000 people worldwide looked at the survey and 7,754 completed the detailed online questionnaire. Most of the respondents were in the United States, with half from Louisiana. Residents of Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom, and more than 50 other countries also responded. Those who took the survey reacted to the pandemic in largely the same way regardless of where they lived, the researchers said.

In the paper, the research team said they would like physicians and scientists to modify the way they manage patients with obesity in two ways, by increasing the number of mental health screenings during and after the pandemic and by remaining connected to patients through remote visits and telehealth to prevent irreversible health effects from the pandemic. So-called virtual visits can assuage patients' concerns about the safety of in-person visits, the researchers said.

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