Shelter-in-place orders were associated with consistent weight gain, according to a research letter published online March 22 in JAMA Network Open.
Anthony L. Lin, M.D., from the University of California in San Francisco, and colleagues analyzed data (Feb. 1 to June 1, 2020) from 269 participants in the Health eHeart Study who volunteered to report weight measurements from their Bluetooth-connected smart scale (7,444 weight measurements).
The researchers found that after the shelter-in-place order, participants (48.3 percent men; 77 percent White; mean age, 51.9 years) experienced steady weight gain at a rate of 0.27 kg every 10 days, regardless of geographic location or comorbidities. These results translate into approximately 1.5 lb of weight gain every month.
“It is important to recognize the unintended health consequences shelter-in-place can have on a population level,” the authors write. “The detrimental health outcomes suggested by these data demonstrate a need to identify concurrent strategies to mitigate weight gain, such as encouraging healthy diets and exploring ways to enhance physical activity, as local governments consider new constraints in response to severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 and potential future pandemics.”