After the virus first emerged, many major parts of the world imposed lockdowns to control its transmission. These lockdowns were helpful to control the viral spread but it increases stress and frustration among people. the new study finds that most people gain weight during a lockdown which means obesity is also a concern while battling with the pandemic.
The new food study found that most younger adults especially between the ages of 25 to 44 were highly affected by the lockdown and restrictions. These limitations changed their dietary habits as well as alcohol habits which unexpectedly made them gain weight. despite the increase in weight, most people complained about the unavailability of food during this period.
This collaborated study was conducted by the research team from the UCD Institute of Food and Health and Dublin City University.
Dr. Eileen Gibney from the UCD Institute of Food and Health says that most people reported eating more than their normal appetite, reduced exercise, and physical activity which resulted in weight gain during the lockdown.
This lockdown seems like a direct hit to food availability which is a prime concern especially in a low-income country that didn’t have enough food to feed all these people during this period.
The study focused on collecting online data as a part of a survey that asked questions regarding eating habits in Ireland in the time of coronavirus lockdown.
One major concern regarding this study was that many children reported hunger when schools were closed and there were no school meals to feed them.
Dr. Celine Murrin from the UCD School of Public Health says that these results are shocking because these effects of COVID-19 pandemic are not known to everyone. It suggests that the concerned departments should make better emergency planning especially in case of a pandemic instead of only relying on self-service and charities.
The most affected groups were refugees, disabled people, addicted, and low-income households in general. Many of them struggled with food availability which was a challenge because all parts of the city were under lockdown. Loss of jobs, eating more than normal and high bills were also big factors to affect their health.
This study is not definitive and it is only qualitative analysis. But it is an eye-opener for those who found these lockdown and restrictions as unnecessary things. While for many people this lockdown period was a family bonding time or self-love period, it was not pleasant for many others especially the low-income persons.
Although these lockdowns lasted for a very short period still their impact on the quality of life and health are astonishing. The researchers urge policymakers to improve their emergency services and improve the availability of food in times of need.
On one side, people ate more, drank more, and spent more on food, and on the other side, many families starved and relied mainly on donations and charities for food. Better emergency response will not only help in disease management but also safeguard the basic rights of every citizen, for the future.