MONDAY, April 4, 2022 (HealthDay News) — Significantly higher average body mass index (BMI) and obesity prevalence rates have been observed among American adults during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a study published online April 4 in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.
Brandon J. Restrepo, Ph.D., of the United States Department of Agriculture in Washington, DC, used data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (2011 to 2020) to study changes in mean BMI, prevalence of obesity and four cases of obesity. related risk factors in the adult US population during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Compared to the 2019 and pre-pandemic 2020 period, during the pandemic, Restrepo observed significantly higher average BMI (+0.6%) and obesity prevalence rates (+3%) among American adults. Additionally, during the pandemic, there were significantly higher rates for any exercise participation (+4.4%), the average number of hours slept over a 24-hour period (+1.5% ) and the average number of days of alcohol consumption during the previous month (+2.7%); lower rates were observed for smoking for at least a few days (−4%).
“Our results, which are broadly consistent with what previous studies have found using smaller, less representative samples, provide additional information that can be used to inform policy makers about the state of the obesity epidemic in adults in the United States and the risk factors associated with obesity,” Restrepo said in a statement. “Because obesity affects some adults more than others, it would be useful to further explore changes in adult obesity rates by demographic subgroup and socioeconomic status.”