Researchers Advocate For Public Health Intervention Efforts After Study Reveals Pandemic Isolation Led To Increased BMI And Decreased Cardiovascular Fitness Among Both Adults And Children

AntonioDiaz - - illustrative purposes only, not the actual person

While working on a federal brain health research project, Lauren Raine– from Northeastern University’s Center for Cognitive and Brain Health– was astounded by the impacts that COVID-19 isolation had on the fitness levels of adults and children.

“It had only been four to five months of isolation, and people were drastically different,” she explained.

Raine led a research team to quantify these results for a new study, which was recently published in Frontiers in Public Health.

The analysis showed increases in Body Mass Index (BMI) among participants both before and during COVID-19 lockdowns. Additionally, the study revealed participants’ cardiovascular fitness had decreased.

Preventative steps taken by both policymakers and community members to reduce exposure to COVID-19 might have inadvertently decreased peoples’ physical activity levels to a significant extent of unhealthiness.

“I don’t think we quite realized the impact [of the shutdowns],” Raine revealed.

“People in the physical therapy department will tell you that if you stop exercising, you see declines very quickly. But people in the general population may say, ‘What’s the big deal if I sat around for two weeks?’ It’s a big deal.”

Prior to the pandemic, the team compared the BMIs and aerobic capacities of 493 adults between the ages of 65 and 80 years old. Then, during the pandemic, the study included 100 adults within that age range.

These adults all resided at three locations in Boston, Pittsburgh, and Kansas; meanwhile, the children participants were located within a one-hour drive from Boston.

AntonioDiaz – – illustrative purposes only, not the actual person

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