While the recent COVID-19 outbreak caused numerous and often frustrating lifestyle changes, pandemic weight gain is arguably the most disturbing long-term problem.
Due in no small part to the restrictions placed upon normal activities such as going to the gym and even taking a walk, many of us experienced an increase in our body mass index (BMI). Let us examine how COVID impacted the United States to better appreciate the “big” picture.
What is the Average Body Mass Index in the USA?
Body mass index (BMI) is a measurement that takes into account your height and weight in order to calculate if you are considered to be healthy. It is normally represented in the form of kilograms (or pounds) by square meters.
At the time that this article was written, American males and females were shown to have a rough body mass index of 26.5 (1). This is rather important considering the fact that a healthy BMI is considered to range between 18.4 and 24.9. Furthermore, a BMI ranging between 25 and 29.9 is classified as overweight, while a body mass index of above 30 is diagnosed as obese.
A Quick Look at Average Weight Gain During the Pandemic
Research conducted by the National Institutes of Health found that 27 percent of Americans reported gaining weight during the pandemic (2). Average increases in body mass index equated to (roughly) 11 pounds or just over 5 kilograms.
Of course, some individuals gained more weight while others (such as those who found social isolation stressful) may have even decreased their body mass index due to a lower caloric intake. It is nonetheless clear to see that there is a clear correlation between the pandemic and weight gain.
How Can You Calculate Your BMI?
Even if you do not happen to be American, you still might be curious to learn whether or not your body mass index falls within the norm. The good news is that BMI calculations are rather straightforward to perform. Here are the three steps:
- Record your body weight.
- Measure your height and then square this number.
- Divide your weight by your squared height.
For instance, an adult who is 1.75 meters tall and weighs 70 kilograms will have a BMI of 22.9 (a healthy result). Note that there are also plenty of online charts which can be consulted if you do not wish to perform the manual calculations.
I Gained Weight During the Pandemic: Now What?
Do you feel that you have fallen victim to unintentional pandemic weight gain? If so, what steps can be taken in order to melt away those excess kilos? It is also wise to mention that the average BMI tends to increase after the age of 30. In other words, even healthy individuals may experience a slight increase in their body mass. This is even more relevant when referring to those who may be suffering from physical issues such as a chronic health condition or limited mobility.
There are still several ways in which you can begin to moderate your BMI over time. Assuming that you have already performed the necessary calculations, it is wise to examine your dietary habits. How many calories do you require? Are you consuming healthy substances, or have you instead become accustomed to fatty snacks (another habit directly related to the pandemic)?
After you have modified your diet, there are other options at your immediate disposal. One proven approach is to exercise on a regular basis. Now that the gyms are once again open, why not take advantage of their social settings? From professional Zumba classes to aerobics and even weight training, there are a host of possibilities.
Many also feel that setting goals is a crucial step within an effective strategy. This is actually quite easy in terms of BMI, as you can always take a few moments to measure your height and weight.
On a final note, a growing number of health-conscious consumers have chosen to be fitted with the adjustable gastric balloon only offered by the team at Spatz3. This device will limit your caloric intake, control your cravings and positively impact the overall weight loss process.
Small Steps for Big Results
We are all thankful that COVID-19 is finally behind us. Now that we can breathe easy, it is time to address any pandemic weight gain so that our future health is never called into question.