Regional obesity

Adult Obesity Increased During First Year of COVID-19 Pandemic

Dan This Land of Ours, USDA-ERS

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New data from USDA’s Economic Research Service shows that U.S. adults ages 20 and older reported a three percent higher prevalence of obesity during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic. The study analyzed data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System from March 13, 2020, to March 18, 2021, compared to a pre-pandemic baseline period of January 1, 2019, to March 12, 2020.


Four behaviors that can influence the risk of obesity—exercise, hours of sleep, alcohol use, and cigarette smoking—were also examined to help explain the change in the adult obesity rate during the pandemic. Participation in exercise rose 4.4 percent over the period, and people slept 1.5 percent longer, both associated with reducing obesity. 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.

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Adult Obesity Increased During First Year of COVID-19 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.