Maybe the "19" in COVID-19 was always going to be a reminder of the literal pounds many gained throughout the course of the pandemic?
(For the record, it stands for 2019, the year the virus was identified.)
Intuitively, you could expect that many people likely have added at least some weight over the past year-plus of various lockdowns. A pandemic defined by keeping our distance, limiting travel and restricting personal interactions only exacerbated the propensity for sedentary lifestyles, weight gain, stress and other factors to potentially put more people at risk for chronic health issues, including prediabetes and type 2 diabetes, especially in underserved communities.
Now, there's some evidence that backs up that idea that an already heavy burden was made heavier for many.
And we're working to lighten the load.
COVID-19 and Type 2 Diabetes: Terrible Twosome
For those fortunate enough to be able to work from home during the pandemic, the absence of the normal milling about during the commute and workplace life was the start of their inactivity. For others, often those in underserved communities, the loss of jobs through the economic downturn had a similar effect, all with added stress.
So it stands that all that sitting likely didn't do us any favors.
And now, the New York Times reports that your instincts are likely right.
"Weight measurements from Bluetooth-connected smart scales suggests that adults under shelter-in-place orders gained more than half a pound every 10 days. That translates to nearly two pounds a month," the Times reported.
That's just the start. Risk factors for prediabetes and type 2 diabetes match up in eerie ways with the fallout from so much sitting during COVID.
- Weight, where fatty tissue can make your body more resistant to insulin.
- Inactivity. The less active, the greater your risk.
- Race or ethnicity. Black, Hispanic, American Indian and Asian Americans are all at higher risk for type 2 diabetes. More on this shortly.
- Age, where your risk increases as you get older.
It's a potentially terrible overlap. As the Times reports, "excess weight has been linked to a greater risk of developing more severe COVID-19 disease, and the United States already has among the highest rates of overweight and obesity in the world."
At the beginning of COVID vaccinations in the U.S., many states prioritized Americans with obesity and other chronic conditions like diabetes or hypertension.