Obesity: Pandemic recovery will take some effort

Nearly every day, we learn of a new way in which COVID has affected us. Last week, data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed a new one: obesity.

According to The Ohio Capital Journal, the number of states with high obesity numbers doubled since 2018, with both Ohio and West Virginia joining the 16 with obesity rates of at least 35 percent among adults.

The Association of State and Territorial Health Officials also said obesity rates have hit all-time highs. “Our attention on COVID-19 diverted us from focusing on chronic disease prevention, which we need to get back to,” said Chief Medical Officer of the association Marcus Plescia.

Well, yes. We all need to get back to eating better, exercising more and visiting our doctors and dentists to make sure everything is in order. Most people understand that.

It is important, though, to recognize some of this weight was put on because of the stress of an ongoing pandemic Stress eating — whether overindulging in foods that are bad for us or just eating too much — is a real thing. We have also been encouraged to have a more sedentary lifestyle: We were told to stay home; gyms were closed; events were canceled, and in many cases, we were told to work and go to school from home. Those are all things that usually get people up and out of their chairs.

Some of that may have turned around a bit before the latest wave of the Delta variant. But now many are advising caution, events are once again being canceled and businesses are scaling back on their hours. It is possible we won’t be encouraged to get out and about again for a while.

We should all try our best to eat well and remain active as much as we safely can, but also remember to be kind to ourselves, considering all we’ve been through. Do a little aerobics in the living room. Have a salad for lunch tomorrow. Take small steps.

Making progress toward getting fit again is important. But strict diets and monster workouts may not be in the cards just yet.


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