USDA: Adult Obesity Increased During Pandemic

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An additional effect on our health from the pandemic. That’s today’s This Land of Ours.

adult obesity
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adult obesity

USDA’s Economic Research Service reports behavior changes during the pandemic exacerbated an already existing adult obesity epidemic. As the COVID-19 pandemic unfolded in 2020, studies using limited online surveys found evidence of weight gain among U.S. adults. However, because the pandemic surveys did not represent the overall U.S. adult population, findings derived from them did not fully show how much obesity rates changed for adults during the pandemic.


The study found that, compared with a pre-pandemic baseline period, adult obesity prevalence was three percent higher over the period from March 13, 2020, to March 18, 2021, the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic. Findings also showed statistically significant changes in each of the four obesity-related behaviors during the COVID-19 pandemic. Participation in exercise rose 4.4 percent, and people slept 1.5 percent longer. Meanwhile, the number of days in the period of a month in which alcohol was consumed was 2.7 percent higher, and cigarette smoking dropped by four percent.

The NAFB contributed this story.

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USDA: Adult Obesity Increased During Pandemic

Sabrina Halvorson
National Correspondent / AgNet Media, Inc.

Sabrina Halvorson is an award-winning journalist, broadcaster, and public speaker who specializes in agriculture. She primarily reports on legislative issues and hosts The AgNet Weekly podcast. Sabrina is a native of California’s agriculture-rich Central Valley.