Or should we be calling it the fight against “Covid 20”
As the country comes through one of its bleakest winters in living memory, and Covid-19 related death rates soar to new record levels, many of us face a different but equally severe long term risk to our health. – Obesity.
The threat of obesity has been ever-present in the UK and national concern for a long time. Still, the current pandemic and particularly lockdown has made things worse.
Is it that bad?
It is widely suggested during the lockdown measures of 2020/2021, some of us will put on as much as 20 pounds (almost 10kg) of unwanted bodyweight.
A recent COVID-19 survey provided a breakdown of the factors contributing to the weight gain in the UK.
– Increased snacking (35%)
– Decreased levels of physical activity (34%)
– Increased alcohol consumption (27%)
– Poor diet (19%).
To put it into perspective, that is more than twice the national average for weight gain during the Christmas period in a non-COVID year.
The lockdown has caused people’s anxiety and stress levels to rise. Most begin to overindulge in food and alcohol as a comfort mechanism to deal with this.
The closure of leisure centres, gyms, sports halls and swimming pools, in addition to the seasonal cold weather, has contributed to a decrease in regular exercise.
Individuals with a high body mass index (BMI >30) are 20% more likely to be hospitalised with symptoms of COVID compared with those with lower BMI scores.
So how does this affect long-term health?
Once the weight has been gained, it is much harder to lose.
Studies have shown that for every 1kg of weight gained each year, over ten years; this leads to almost 50% increased risk of developing type-2 diabetes and increased risk of coronary heart disease.
The aim is not to name and shame people about their weight gain during this challenging period, but raise awareness around the subject.
- Increased snacking accounts for over a third of lockdown weight gain, trying to replace highly processed foods with more fresh and natural produce.
- Replacing late-night snacking and having more regular meals earlier on during the day.
- Increasing water intake throughout the day helps reduce the severity of COVID symptoms and reduces the need for snacking as often if you are looking to lose weight.
- Setting out small milestones such as achieving a daily step target, drinking 2-3 litres of water a day, or even completing 10-15 min of cardiovascular exercises can burn excess calories.
- Reduce portion sizes of meals and cut out fried foods and snacks.
- Going to bed at a set time, finding ways to unwind before bed, and restful sleep helps improve overall well being and reduce stress.
- Reduce alcohol consumption by buying smaller volumes of wine, spirits and beers when shopping.
Is there professional help and support available?
Healthcare professionals who understand the dangers of obesity on our health have carefully designed a series of weight management programmes around tacking obesity.
There is a global urgency for awareness around the management of obesity and avoidance. Gaining excess weight increase the likelihood of developing more serious long-term conditions including type-2 diabetes, hypertension, coronary heart disease and sleep-apnoea.
Individuals who have a high body mass index (BMI) score (30 or above) automatically qualify for medical weight management intervention.
The medical treatments are beneficial for anyone who has previously been unsuccessful in losing weight through diet and exercise alone, and whose BMI score is above 30.
These products can help regulate the appetite, increase the feeling of satiety after small meals, and reduce the absorption of unwanted fats from meals.
The programmes encompass doctors, nutritionists, and fitness coaches to provide holistic support to aid the medical treatments. This extra support is incredibly beneficial to get the best outcome from the medical treatments available, particularly in the first 12 -14 weeks of starting the treatment. They are designed so you do not need to leave your home, and all the support and advice is available through virtual consultations.
For more information on medical weight management products and programme options, visit