We have become accustomed to eating for various reasons beyond providing our bodies with the basic nutritional needs to survive. And while we eat to celebrate special occasions, we have also started relying on food to stave off boredom, sadness, fear, and anxiety. Take the term “comfort food” for instance. Certain foods and the associated emotions or nostalgia they carry have become so intrinsically linked that we created a euphemism for this unhealthy coping mechanism.
It’s pretty clear that the lockdowns had an effect on the body weight of many consumers. And out of this expansion of waistlines, came another, newer term—the “Quarantine 15” (a playful nod to the “Freshman 15”), which refers to the increase in weight gain people have experienced as a result of the lockdowns.
In a recent global study involving 8,000 people from over 50 countries, participants were surveyed on their weight gain and feelings of anxiety, and asked to provide their responses in the context of before and since the COVID-19 pandemic started. The results of this survey yielded some interesting insights on the link between the lockdowns, stress and weight gain:
- More than a quarter gained weight
The sample included individuals who were normal weight (32.2%), overweight (32.1%) and had obesity (34.0%)—weight gain was reported in over 27% of all those who participated in the study.
- Those with obesity were most affected
More than 33% of those who were already obese gained weight.
- The link to stress
Anxiety scores increased among the participants during the pandemic with a significantly greater increase in those who were obese (P<0.01).
The “new normal” for weight management
Doesn’t it feel like forever since fad diets, magic bullet pills, and flashy promises with little proof were a thing? And while the days of the wild, wild west of weight management supplements are long gone, it seems like there has been a lull in excitement around the category in the last few years. But there is now a growing opportunity as the landscape shifts to address the challenges from our “new normal”.
Like the lockdowns themselves, a striking reality has set in with the severity of COVID-related symptoms reminding us that maintaining a healthy weight is closely linked to overall health and wellbeing.
In fact, Obesity Reviews just published a meta-analysis that found that those individuals who contracted SARS-CoV-2 and were obese were 113% more likely to end up in the hospital than those with a healthy weight. Moreover, they were 74% more likely to be admitted to the ICU, and 48% more likely to die (Popkin, 2020).
These findings and insights reiterate that weight management is a multipronged approach involving our dietary habits, physical activity and stress.
The good news is there are clinically backed solutions to address some of the challenges consumers face in their quest for successful weight management.
Food for thought
Weight wellness will be an emerging trend as consumers continue to focus on preventive health and ingredients with overlapping benefits or which help support their weight management goals from a convenient and clinically-studied source.
Capsimax® makes weight management easier by addressing three key areas—boosting metabolism, supporting lipolysis, and curbing appetite—in one convenient ingredient.*
How about offering consumers a way to address hidden sugars, which may derail weight management goals? MetaVive™ has been clinically shown to help reduce the glycemic impact of sugar (a common carbohydrate), supports normal glycemic response, and reduces spikes in blood sugar resulting from sugary foods/drinks.*
Address the stress
In one study, 70% of individuals with a healthy body weight reported that they increased food intake while faced with stress. Managing stress, therefore, might be an important key to helping fight the “Quarantine 15.”
Think the macular carotenoids are just for eye health? Think again. A clinical study demonstrated that
Lutemax® 2020 may address the needs of proactive selfcare consumers by helping reduce stress, promote calm and positive mood, and reduce serum cortisol.*
Exercise the mind and body
It goes without saying that the lockdowns have changed the way we exercise. In 2020, gym doors shuttered. Chains such as 24 Hour Fitness closed 130 gyms and filed for bankruptcy, while Forbes reported that stocks for Peloton soared by 350%. There was a bicycle shortage, with some industry experts saying that it might remain until 2022. And yet, a recent study examining worldwide changes in step count—a common index of physical activity level—before and after the lockdowns showed significant declines. Globally, there was a 27.3% decrease in mean steps within a month’s time from when news of the pandemic went public. Even countries which had relatively low infection rates and had little to no lockdowns such as S. Korea, Taiwan, and Japan still showed a decrease in overall step count.
Regardless where consumers fall in terms of their levels of activity since the pandemic started, the fact is, exercise remains an integral part of both healthy weight and stress management. And supporting the active lifestyle needs of consumers creates the foundation for continuing exercise.
CurcuWIN® is a unique, highly bioavailable form of curcumin, clinically shown to be better absorbed than standard curcumin. Clinical studies have also shown CurcuWIN helps support healthy inflammation response, repair muscle damage and restore healthy muscle function after exercise, and promote healthy cardiovascular function.*
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OmniActive is the official marketing partner for enXtra® in North America.