Factors associated with weight gain during COVID-19 pandemic: A global study

On behalf of the Association of Pacific Rim Universities (APRU) Global Health Program¶

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3 Citations (Scopus)


Background The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has resulted in changes in lifestyle habits and experiences of mental health outcomes, some of which were possibly related to weight gain, leading to an increase in the prevalence of obesity, which is associated with the development of several severe diseases. Concerns regarding weight gain and its impact on health outcomes are prevalent worldwide, with obesity being one of the highest causes of mortality in current society. Methods A self-reported questionnaire collected data from participants aged 18 years of age and above from 26 countries and regions worldwide. Post-hoc multiple logistic regression analyses have been done to evaluate the association between demographic and socioeconomic factors, and the perspectives that were identified to be associated with weight gain. Results Participants belonging to a younger age group; with a higher level of education; living in an urban area; living with family members; employed full-time; and had obesity were found to be more vulnerable to weight gain. After adjusting for socio-demographic factors, participants who were quarantined; exercised less prior to the pandemic; consumed unhealthy foods; and reported negative thoughts such as helplessness and the perceived risk of COVID-19, were more likely to experience weight gain; while negative thoughts such as having no means of control over the COVID-19 pandemic and the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic will have great personal effect were associated with females, students, and people living in the rural area. Conclusions Weight gain risk during the pandemic was significantly associated with certain socio-demographic and COVID-19 related factors. To improve public health outcomes, future research should conduct a longitudinal evaluation on the effects of COVID-19 experiences upon health choices. Streamlined mental support should also be provided to the vulnerable groups which were prone to negative thoughts that were associated with weight gain.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0284283
JournalPloS one
Issue number4 April
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2023


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