Due to rapid outburst of COVID-19 pandemic, governments of many countries have underwent drastic changes to fight its spread by measures such as social distancing, and lockdowns. These strategies of government are mainly aiming to reduce outdoor activities and gatherings which in turn has led to detrimental consequences on physical, social and mental health of an individuals. As reduced levels of activity is causing obesity and its linked metabolic diseases including diabetes mellitus, hypertension, cardiovascular diseases, cerebrovascular diseases, sleep apnea, mood and reproductive disorders. Due to confinement of people to their homes in accordance with the SOPs to curb COVID, more and more people are being inactive and moving more towards sedentary lifestyle compared to physically active lifestyle.
Obesity that is atypical fat deposition was found to be more profound during virus epidemic in people with higher BMI1. However, obesity during this lockdown was associated with overeating 43% and more common snacking 52%2 and adverse modifications in physical activities with less time spending in household chores, leisureliness spell, and leisureliness-time walking of modest-vigorous intensity with substantial intensification in screen time and nap time3. Further, this lockdown situation has caused restricted access to gym and fitness centers.
Moreover, the presence of a worldwide epidemic situation can cause mental pressure and anxiety due to recent aggravating social and economic state. Additionally, social isolation has eliminated the important means for emotional wellbeing for people, that is, consequential public relations, and additional sentiments of loneliness. By itself, the epidemic bids a critical situation for making behavioral and social anxiety. Worsening mental and social health have a harmful impact on eating behaviors such as binge eating to suppress the feelings of anxiety and stress. Also, people who have confined public gatherings are more at risk to develop obesity related to lockdown4.
Furthermore, immunity has a direct relationship with physical and mental fitness, that is, immunity decreases with declining fitness. Also, the respiratory function is found to be more compromised in obese individual causing them more prone towards getting the virus. So, obesity developed due to lockdown should be an important concern of governments, and they should take steps to prevent it because restricted access to gyms and fitness centers for public distancing and unhealthy eating has caused a serious damage to three aspects of health, that is, physical, social and mental. Moreover, strong immunity helps fight the virus whereas it has more effect on people who have low immunity like children and older adults which may lead to a health crisis.
Concluding it as that in the era of technology people should incorporate exercises in their routine by watching fitness related videos and downloading fitness app5. Also, government should raise this issue and provide awareness about obesity and its negative consequences via social media. Further, they should start health programs to provide basic guidelines about how obesity can make them more prone to COVID-19 and how it can worsen the condition of the patient.
Ume Habiba Fakhruddin
Ziauddin College of Rehabilitation Sciences
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