Not Everyone Packed on “Pandemic Pounds”

For some, the pandemic was just the motivation they needed

New research from the ZOE COVID study has revealed that the pandemic had a surprising effect for some people when it comes to fitness. “Pandemic pounds” were not only gained, but lost, as some were pushed by lockdowns and changes in their routine to actually get healthier.

The research looked at self-reported data from 896,286 people on the ZOE COVID study app. Participants were asked to complete questionnaires about their lifestyle before and after the pandemic. These answers were then analyzed to determine what changes occurred.

The findings:

  • 32% of participants say they pushed themselves, by losing 9 or more pounds or eating more fruits and vegetables.
  • About the same number of people say they actually gained more than 7 pounds.
  • Those who reported positive health changes tended to have a “less healthy” lifestyle pre-pandemic.

The takeaway:

The study was an interesting look at how changes in daily routine due to the global pandemic impacted people differently. For some, specifically those who were less healthy pre-pandemic, the time at home and the concern for overall health pushed them to get healthier.

Those whose lives were highly disrupted by the pandemic (they tended to be female, younger or residing in economically deprived areas) were associated with more weight gain. The study also found that people who had healthy habits before the pandemic mostly kept up their lifestyle with minimal changes.

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