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Study: Young adults and women most likely to gain weight during lockdown

Those aged younger than 45 years were more likely to gain weight and move up at least one BMI category post-lockdown.

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By Joe Morgan via SWNS

British adults aged under 45 and women were the most likely people to pile on the pounds during lockdown, according to new research

The pandemic led to 14 percent of people at a healthy weight become overweight or obese.

It has had a big impact as three quarters of Brits aged 45 to 74 were already above a healthy weight range in 2019.

A greater proportion of women than men gained weight, resulting in 13 percent of overweight women transitioning into the obesity category post-lockdown.

This was compared to nine percent of men who became obese.

Around one in 10 adults were able to fight the flab and lose enough weight to transition from obese to the overweight or normal weight categories.

In the study of around one million adults in Britain, researchers found lockdowns had a large impact on weight gain.

Those aged younger than 45 years were more likely to gain weight and move up at least one BMI category post-lockdown.

The study found 17 percent of adults younger than 45-years old living with overweight pre-lockdown moved into the obesity categories post-lockdown compared with seven percent–13 percent of individuals in the other age groups.

Overall patterns of weight change were similar across all ethnic groups.

However, a greater proportion of Black individuals moved up at least one BMI category compared to other ethnic groups, regardless of initial BMI category.

Professor Thomas Yates, from the University of Leicester, said: "The implications of even modest weight gain at a population level in younger adults and women could translate into more diabetes, heart disease, cancers and other serious obesity-related health problems over the coming decades in these populations unless action is taken to reverse the effects of lockdowns.

“These data also suggest societal inequalities, with black individuals more likely to put on pandemic weight and move up at least one BMI category compared to other ethnic groups.”

Dr. David Klocker, also from the University of Leicester, said: “Prolonged periods of lockdown disrupted daily routines making it challenging for people to eat healthily and keep fit, with emotional eating and sports club closures likely intensifying the trend.

“Nevertheless, more research is needed to understand the reasons behind these changes in bodyweight and obesity levels.”

The research was presented at the European Congress on Obesity.

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