Covid-19 Drives Increase In Alcohol Consumption and Weight Gain

According to a new study conducted by IPSOS Global Advisor, has found that while many are aware of the possible link between obesity and the severity of COVID symptoms, people around the world are increasing their consumption of alcohol and unhealthy eating habits.

The research which was carried out across 30 countries with the focus of finding the impact of COVID-19 on dietary related health choices, reached facts like:

31% – a third of the global population have gained weight during the pandemic

45% of the world’s population believe there is a clear link between obesity and suffering more severe symptoms of COVID-19.38% of people believe that exercise would reduce the severity of Covid-19 symptoms while only 17% believe weight loss would do the magic

.45% of people trying to lose weight globally, almost two-thirds (62%) want to lose weight not gained during the pandemic and only 15% of those trying to lose weight are doing it to reduce the risk of COVID.

Globally, 1 in 10 started drinking more alcohol since the start of the pandemic whilst an equal proportion (9%) drank less.

Globally 45% of people state that they are trying to lose weight. Two-thirds (60%) of people in Chile are trying to lose weight and less than 50% in Spain, Peru, Saudi Arabia, Singapore and the USA.

Among those actively trying to lose weight are doing so to reduce the risk of severe symptoms if they were to get COVID-19, a fifth (19%) say it is their main motivation to lose weight and a further two-thirds (64%) say it is important but not their main motivation.

The research found that a third (31%) of the global population, gained weight since the pandemic began.

However, the proportion of weight gain varies considerably across countries with more than half of people gaining weight in Chile and Brazil, 30-40% gaining weight in Peru, India, Italy, Saudi Arabia, USA, Spain, South Africa and Turkey. Whereas in China and Hong Kong less than 1 in 10 said that they had gained weight.

Also adding that those people who gained weight during the COVID-19 pandemic (31% of the global population) put on an additional 6.1kg. The largest weight gain was seen in Saudi Arabia (average of 8kg for the 35% of the population who gained weight) and Mexico (average of 8.5kg for the 34% who gained weight).

The study blamed the sedentary lifestyle of most people during the pandemic as a factor for polarized reduced desire to keep healthy.

Although globally, over a quarter (27%) did more exercise, 23% did less, more than half of people in China (57%) exercised more since the pandemic began, however, more than a third of those in Belgium, Chile and Italy exercised less.

In addition, in the United States of America and Australia, about a fifth (20%) of the population drank more alcohol. Whereas, (possibly due to imposed restrictions), a quarter (24%) of South Africans drank less alcohol.

Shifts in smoking habits changed by a few percentage points across the globe (4% giving up and 3% taking up smoking). India saw the highest proportion of its population giving up smoking at 12% and Chile had the highest uptake of smoking with 1 in 10 starting picking up the habit during the pandemic.

Patsy Nwogu

Reporting on data-driven featured stories and investigations.

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