Little Difference Seen in Weight Changes Before, After COVID-19 Shutdown


THURSDAY, June 16, 2022 — Changes in weight or body mass index (BMI) seen after the COVID-19 shutdown were not significantly different from those occurring in the preshutdown period, according to a research letter published online June 16 in JAMA Network Open.

Rena R. Wing, Ph.D., from The Miriam Hospital in Providence, Rhode Island, and colleagues examined mean changes in weight and BMI in 102,889 adults who had at least two BMI measures at ambulatory visits during both the year after the COVID-19 shutdown (March 16, 2020, to Nov. 12, 2021) and the year immediately prior to the shutdown (Jan. 1, 2018, to March 15, 2020).

The researchers found that during the preshutdown and postshutdown years, participants had significant increases in weight (mean change, 0.18 and 0.22 kg, respectively), but the difference between the changes was not significant (difference, 0.04 kg). Significantly less weight gain occurred in the postshutdown interval versus the preshutdown interval in a sensitivity analysis that included only patients with all four measures assessed in person. From the preshutdown to postshutdown periods, the percentage of individuals who remained weight-stable decreased by 2 percent, while the percentage who gained or lost 5 percent increased by about 0.7 percent.

“These findings should help to mitigate public health concerns that COVID-19 shutdown orders led to weight gain in adults,” the authors write.

One author disclosed financial ties to Noom.

Abstract/Full Text

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