Coronavirus: Why is it important not to get fat?

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The average weight gained during home confinement caused by the coronavirus pandemic has been 2 to 3 kilos in Spain. This increase in body weight seems to be the consequence of worse eating habits, with an increase in snacks, and more time spent watching television, as well as a decrease in physical activity, according to a survey of 1,000 people by the Spanish Obesity Society (Seedo) with the support of Novo Nordisk.

Why should you avoid gaining weight?

Since the coronavirus has entered our lives, it has been confirmed that obesity is a fundamental risk factor for a poor evolution of Covid-19 infection, both in the duration of the disease and in the need to require hospital admission or in intensive care, as well as the probability of receiving mechanical ventilation and mortality. Hence, Seedo experts emphasize the need to keep weight at bay, since it is estimated that in Spain 60% of the population is overweight and more than 20% is obese.

Albert Lecube, vice president of Seedo, adds that 50.9% of the population knows that obesity is a poor prognostic factor for the coronavirus. However, 49% are not aware and this figure rises to 67% in the population between 18-24 years, "a group that is currently under scrutiny due to the outbreaks that are occurring throughout Spain." In addition, it increases to 70.7% among those who have gained more than 3 kilos in confinement. So "physical activity and maintaining healthy lifestyle habits should be the norm," adds Lecube.

Snacking and more hours of television confined

According to Francisco Tinahones, president of Seedo, more than 50% of those surveyed acknowledge having increased the consumption of alcohol and pastries, "products very rich in refined sugars and carbohydrates, which are obviously not recommended."

The stress and boredom generated by confinement have generated more feeling of hunger in 40% and more than 20% of those surveyed have opted for pecking.

56% admit to having done less physical activity and almost 33% have been sitting for more than five hours in front of the television, while more than half have been sitting for more than 5 hours.

Weight gain and decrease in physical activity are also related to socioeconomic and educational factors. Thus, at a lower income level, greater abandonment of healthy lifestyle habits. "The smaller size of the home has been a limitation for physical activity and the consumption of hours in front of the television has increased," says Tinahones.

How to improve diet and physical activity?

With these data and since the regrowths are increasing it is more important than ever to maintain a healthy weight. "Obesity is not an aesthetic problem, it is a disease that produces a greater number of deaths and associated diseases. There is still no such knowledge that obesity worsens the state of health, "says Tinahones.

In fact, obesity is the main cause of the onset of diabetes and has a great influence on the appearance of many cancers, such as breast cancer or endometrial cancer, for example.

According to Susana Monereo, technical secretary of the Seedo, it is crucial to spread the message that it is necessary to take care of the weight at all times, and more during the coronavirus pandemic. For this reason, she affirms that β€œthe recommendations that have been made against Covid-19, such as the use of a mask, hydroalcoholic gel or hand washing, among others, should include the concept of taking care of weight on a continuous basis because if not, the probability of getting sick from the infection is greater ”.

So how do we have to take care of ourselves?

  • The first thing is to pay attention to food and abandon the consumption of foods rich in sugars. The golden rule is to reduce dietary sugar, the fast absorbing carbohydrate. One way to carry a healthy diet is to make an adequate purchase, avoiding bringing home chocolates, alcoholic beverages, sweets, alcohol ... "It is advisable not to improvise and plan the menus in time when the vegetable is the main dish, use protein -meat, fish and eggs cooked in a simple way-. For dessert, always fruit ”, says Monereo.

  • Avoid alcohol consumption, which in addition to other harmful effects adds a large amount of empty calories to the diet and fattens much

  • To lose weight or maintain it, it is important to carry out vigorous physical activity every day, at least for 30 minutes. For this, and if we can not leave the house, you can make videos online, do squats or go up and down stairs. You should also perform strength exercises with weights.

  • Patients in obesity treatment have abandoned their treatments, so it is necessary to resume their medications, as well as to adopt again the diet and exercise recommendations.

It should not be forgotten either that life habits seem to have a halo or contagious effect, so it is very important for parents to have exemplary behavior. How to become an example? Since children tend to repeat the behaviors observed at home, it is advisable to carry out physical activity and a healthy diet, in which there are all kinds of foods, but that fruits and vegetables and grilled foods predominate and flee from fried and stews with many sauces. And, of course, avoid pre-cooked and ultra-processed dishes.

"This type of diet improves immunity and will help us defend ourselves against the pandemic. So does moderate or intense physical exercise, which is another immunity booster. Today more than ever we need those immune benefits that, in addition, also have an anti-inflammatory character ”.

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