Obesity and weight gain during lockdown

Some people consider working from home, too pleasant and comfy, but is it really that pleasant? Well, all that you need to do is wake up and login from your laptop or desktop. You wouldn’t have to interact with anyone, instead, you can spend time sleeping or watching your favourite show. But is it really that healthy for you? We all are stuck at home due to the coronavirus pandemic and most of us are working from home. People who work from home are at a greater risk of diabetes and obesity because there is a significant decrease in the in physical activity, which would increase your chances of catching the coronavirus. How? You will know it by the time you finish reading the article.

This post would shed some light on the symptoms of obesity and the ways you can prevent it and how your chances of catching the coronavirus are high if you are obese. 

Obesity Symptoms

Obesity is a chronic disease affecting considerable numbers of children, teens and adults. Obesity rates among children in the U.S. have doubled since 1980 and have tripled for teenagers. About 17% of children aged 2 to 19 are obese, compared to over 35% of adults who are considered obese. 

Although gaining a few extra pounds may seem insignificant as far as an individual’s overall health is concerned, weight gain can quickly escalate to some serious medical conditions.

Obesity and weight gain during lockdown

Frequent Symptoms for Adults:

Symptoms of obesity can negatively impact one’s daily life. For adults, frequent symptoms include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Excess body fat accumulation (particularly around the waist)
  • Snoring
  • Sweating (more than usual)
  • Skin problems (from moisture accumulating in the folds of skin)
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Fatigue (from mild to extreme)
  • Inability to perform simple physical tasks (that one could easily perform before weight gain)
  • Psychological impact (negative self-esteem, depression, shame, social isolation)
  • Pain (commonly in the back and joints)

Frequent Symptoms for Children and Adolescents:

Over 340 million children and adolescents aged between 5 and 19 were deemed overweight or obese in the year 2016, according to the World Health Organization. In that past 30 years the CDC reports that the rate of childhood obesity has tripled, says Boston Children’s Hospital.

Common symptoms of childhood obesity may include:

  • Fatty tissue deposits (may be noticeable in the breast area)
  • Eating disorders
  • Acanthosis nigricans (dark velvety skin around the neck and other areas)
  • The appearance of stretch marks on the hips and back
  • Sleep apnoea
  • Shortness of breath with physical activity
  • Constipation
  • Poor self-esteem
  • GI reflux
  • Orthopaedic problems (such as flat feet or dislocated hips)
  • Early puberty in girls/delayed puberty in boys

How to Prevent Obesity

Earlier onset of type 2 diabetes, obesity-related depression, heart and blood vessel disease and social isolation in teens and children are being seen more often by the healthcare professionals and doctors. The longer a person is obese, the more significant are the risk factors. Given the chronic diseases and conditions associated with obesity and the fact that obesity is hard to treat, prevention of such a disease is extremely important and crucial. Failing to prevent such a disease would increase your chances of catching the coronavirus.

A primary reason that prevention of obesity is vital in children is because the likelihood of childhood obesity persisting into adulthood increases as the child grows older. This puts the person at high risk of high blood pressure, diabetes, and heart disease. The following points would give you the answer to the question, how to prevent obesity in infants, teens and children and adults.


According to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention and American Academy of Paediatrics, breastfed babies are less likely to become overweight. The CDC even reported that the longer babies are breastfed, the less likely they are to become overweight as they grow older. However, many formula-fed babies grow up to be adults of healthy weight. If your child was not breastfed, it does not mean that he or she cannot achieve a healthy weight when he or she grows old.

Also Read: Should Couples Try To Conceive During Covid-19?

Teens and Children:

Young people generally become overweight or become obese because of poor eating patterns and habits and lack of physical activity. Genetics and lifestyle also contribute to the status of a child’s weight.

Recommendations for the prevention of overweight and obesity during teenage and childhood include:

  • Gradually work to change family eating patterns and habits and activity levels rather than focusing on a child's weight.
  • Be a role model. Parents who eat healthy foods and participate in certain physical activities set an example so that a child is more likely to do the same as them.
  • Encourage physical activity. Children must devote at least 60 minutes to moderate physical activity every day. More than 60 minutes of activity may promote weight loss and provide weight maintenance. Try to work out at home and prevent going out to avoid catching the deadly coronavirus.
  • Reduce screen time in front of the computer and television to less than 1 to 2 hours daily.
  • Encourage children to eat only when they are hungry and ask them to eat slowly.
  • Don't withhold food as a punishment or use food as a reward.
  • Keep the fridge stocked with fat-free or low-fat milk, fresh fruits, and vegetables instead of snacks and soft drinks that are high in sugar and fat.
  • Serve at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables daily.
  • Encourage children to drink water rather than beverages with added sugar. These include soft drinks, sports drinks, and fruit juice drinks.


Many of the strategies that produce successful weight loss and maintenance help prevent obesity. Improving eating habits and increasing physical activity play a vital role in preventing obesity. Recommendations for adults include:

  • Eat 5 to 9 servings of vegetables and fruits daily. A vegetable serving is 1 cup of raw vegetables or 1/2 cup of cooked vegetables or vegetable juice. A fruit serving is 1 piece of small to medium fresh fruit, 1/2 cup of canned or fresh fruit or fruit juice, or 1/4 cup of dried fruit.
  • Maintain a food diary of what you ate, where you ate, and how you were feeling before and after you ate.
  • Measure and weigh food to be able to learn correct portion sizes. For example, a 3-ounce serving of meat is the size of a deck of cards. Never order supersized menu items.
  • Choose whole-grain foods, such as brown rice and whole-wheat bread only. Don't eat highly processed foods made with refined white sugar, high-fructose corn syrup, flour, and saturated fat.
  • Simply reducing portion sizes and using a smaller plate could help you in losing weight.
  • Start to read food nutrition labels and use them, keep the number of portions you are really eating, in mind.
  • Look for ways to get at least 10 or 15 minutes of some type of activity during the day. Walking around the block or up and down a few flights of stairs is a good start.
  • Aim for an average of 60 to 90 minutes or more of moderate to intense physical activity 3 to 4 days a week. Examples of moderate-intensity exercise are walking a 15-minute mile, or hoeing and weeding a garden. Playing singles tennis or running are examples of more intense activities. Exercise at home and avoid going out to not catch the coronavirus.

COVID-19 and Obesity

Obesity could make the coronavirus infection more severe among the individuals, a new study in the medical journal The Lancet says. “[I]n populations with a high prevalence of obesity, coronavirus would affect younger populations more than previously reported,” it stated. Common comorbidities--conditions which increase the risk in patients with coronavirus--have been hypertension, cardiovascular diseases, and diabetes but as the pandemic hit the United States in late March 2020, Johns Hopkins Hospital started admitting younger patients to the intensive care units or ICUs, many of whom were also obese. 

India currently has the third-highest number of overweight or obese individuals among all countries--20% of its adults and 11% of adolescents can be categorised as obese individuals. The disease has so far been known to largely infect the elder people. In a study of 1,591 ICU patients in Italy, the median age was found to be 63 years and only 13% of the patients were younger than 51 years, the study says. Obesity as a comorbidity was found to be particularly relevant to the United States where nearly 40% of the people are obese. Younger individuals admitted to the hospitals are more likely to be obese, the researchers found, by analysing the age and body mass index (BMI) of 265 patients infected with the coronavirus infection, admitted to the ICU in six university hospitals in the United States.

Obesity impairs the immune responses to viral infections and encourages other comorbidities such as hypertension and diabetes, and adversely affects cardiovascular function. The study even suggested that public messaging needs to reach the younger adults, the severity of symptoms required for coronavirus testing should be reduced for obese individuals, and the at-risk obese population should be put under greater vigilance to reduce the spread of the coronavirus infection.


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