MONDAY, Dec. 20, 2021 (HealthDay News) — Americans in the prime of their lives are worried about the pounds they packed on during the pandemic and plan to do something about it in the new year, a new Harris Poll/HealthDay survey finds.
Nearly 2 of every 3 U.S. adults (63%) plan to change up their diet in 2022, either by eating less or cutting back on specific foods, poll results reveal.
Adults between the ages of 18 and 44 are the most worried about the health effects of their pandemic weight gain, according to poll results.
Folks in that age range are more likely to say they’re struggling with diet and weight management. They’re also more worried that the hit their health took during the pandemic will affect them in years to come.
“These younger adults are more likely to be employed, and they’re also more likely to be parents of children under 18. That probably means these folks are more likely to have been stressed during the pandemic,” said Harris Poll Vice President Kathy Steinberg.
“If you’re an adult who’s 55-plus or 65-plus, yes, it sucks that you haven’t been able to visit family and you’ve been quarantined, but maybe your life hasn’t changed that much in terms of what you’re doing,” Steinberg continued. “Whereas if you’re a parent and you used to send your kids to school and you used to commute to work, your whole life has changed.”
Overall, more than 2 in 5 adults (43%) said they gained weight during the pandemic.
Of those, 7 in 10 (71%) are concerned about the weight they gained, including 1 in 4 (26%) who strongly agree.
A deeper dive into the poll numbers support Steinberg’s contention that the busier lives of younger adults make them more likely to be stressed about the health effects of the pandemic.
Stressors have parents worried about health
Employed folks were more likely to say the pandemic has made it more difficult to manage their weight (46% vs. 38% for unemployed) and that the negative health effects of the pandemic will affect them for years to come (49% vs. 42%).
Parents of kids under 18 had even stronger worries about how the pandemic had harmed their weight and their health, compared to adults without children that age. They were more likely to:
- Worry about suffering long-term negative health impacts from the pandemic (55% vs. 41%)
- Say the pandemic has made it more difficult to manage their weight (53% vs. 37%).
- Fret that they’ll ever be able to lose the weight they gained during the pandemic (48% vs. 34%).
- Struggle more now sticking to a diet than they did prior to the pandemic (46% vs. 33%)
“They have busier lives. They have more going on in their lives with employment and kids, and so they’ve just had a lot more to manage during the pandemic,” Steinberg explained. “When you’re trying to manage child care and working from home, personal health and weight may be the thing that kind of falls to the back burner.”
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