When you’re confined to your room or apartment for months, it’s no surprise that those extra kilos are harder to lose and easier to gain.
According to a recent survey by two local health centres, 31% of Hungarians have gained weight in the past year, while 15.6% are now slimmer than before, writes Bors. The non-representative survey was carried out between March 24th and April 5th, in the form of an online questionnaire, receiving answers from 834 people.
Among those respondents who admitted to carrying a bit of extra weight, 58% had put on 2 to 5 kilos during the pandemic, while 30% reported a weight increase of 6 to 9 kilos.
When asked about their eating habits, 44% stated that they had changed. 46% said that they cooked more often, while 38% confessed to having an increased tendency to snack. Every tenth person also reported having consumed more alcohol. According to the survey, almost two-thirds of Hungarians (63.3%) have exercised less than normally during the quarantine, however, on a more positive note, 35.9% have tried out a new sport.
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Looking past the matter of weight gain, the pandemic has also had a number of negative effects on the physical and mental well-being of Hungarians. 82.5% of those asked said they slept less and/or worse, 45.9% had felt lonely, and 38.8% had experienced a new health problem. And yet, only 11.6% had reached out to anyone, asking for help.
Szabolcs Gáspár, head doctor of Budapesti Mozgásszervi Magánrendelő (Budapest Musculoskeletal Private Health Center), one of the institutions involved in the survey, has lamented the findings of the study, saying that
Hungarians aren’t fond of exercise anyway, and for many, the pandemic has taken away the very last bits of physical activity, that is, walking around at school or the workplace.
He has also emphasised the negative consequences of a sedentary lifestyle. As he explained, spending too much time sitting puts pressure on the patellofemoral joint, which eventually leads to knee pain. He also mentioned that chronic pain is often first felt in the back and the waist and later on in the lower extremities. People tend to try to make the pain go away by further decreasing the time spent exercising; however, that is a vicious circle: joints need to be able to move in order to function properly. He recommends at least 15-20 minutes of exercise, three times a week, to avoid such complications.