Experts Explain Why We Gained Weight During Pandemic Despite Exercising More

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A new study shows obesity rates among adults got worse during the COVID pandemic, and they got worse even though we exercised more, and smoked less.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture reports the average body mass index in the U.S. increased by .6% from 2020 to 2021. That increase happened even as people exercised more, slept more, and smoked less.

Researchers say unhealthy foods and an increase in alcohol consumption may have contributed to the increase in BMI.

Mayo Clinic Healthy Living Program Medical Director Dr. Donald Hensrud explains why it’s important to nip unhealthy eating habits in the bud. He says, “Obviously, the more weight we gain and the longer it’s maintained, the more it affects our health. For children, for example, it’s been shown that children’s weight tracks the same. If children establish those habits, or lack of healthy habits when they’re young and they gain weight, that might persist as they go into adolescence and adulthood.”

Hensrud adds it’s all about being proactive and establishing healthy habits. The sooner you can establish those habits, the better off you’ll be.

Our question of the night: did you gain weight, lose weight, or stay the same weight during the pandemic?

This episode’s panel features:
WCCB TV’s Morgan Fogarty
WCCB News @ Ten anchor Drew Bollea
WCCB TV’s Zach Aldridge