Roughly one-third of Canadians said they are gaining weight as a result of the pandemic.
According to a new study conducted by Leger and the Association for Canadian Studies, 32% of Canadians admit to eating more and exercising less since March, compared to 15% who said they’ve lost weight since the pandemic began.
Another 28% said they’ve been eating “more than usual” since the onset of the pandemic, and 33% said they’ve been exercising and working out less.
Interestingly, 46% of respondents who said they were “very afraid of COVID-19” admitted to gaining weight versus only 21% who said they were “not afraid of the virus” at all.
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“The existence of a global pandemic creates psychological stress and feelings of anxiety might be exacerbated by worsening socioeconomic conditions,” states the survey’s introduction.
“Distancing risks undercutting personal comfort and diminished interaction augment feelings of isolation. As such, the COVID-19 pandemic offers a ‘perfect storm’ for declining mental health and result in negative outcomes on eating.”
The survey links stress and limited social interactions as factors that are “higher risk” for obesity.
Confinement throughout the pandemic may also lead to an increase in what the study calls “impulsive eating.”
“Eating can be seen as a means to remedy negative feelings and thus increase under current conditions. The reduction of social dining might lead to poor eating habits and badly influence nutrition,” continues the Leger poll. ”
And with gyms and fitness facilities experiencing closures, a severe reduction of group sports and the greater degree of social distancing will make for challenging lifestyle changes particularly as winter approaches.”
The survey was conducted from October 29 to 31 and surveyed 1,516 Canadians. The full report can be found online.