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UCSF doctor shares study on pandemic weight gain


SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) – The pandemic shutdown our gyms and forced us to stay inside and now researchers are confirming weight gain over the last year could be worse than previously predicted. 

“Clicking on one Zoom link to another doesn’t burn a lot of calories,” Dr. Gregory Marcus said.

Between the Zoom calls, hours of binge-watching, and the snack attacks throughout the day, researchers say staying-at-home has helped the average American put on more than just a few pounds.

“Research participants gained approximately on average two pounds per month. We can’t say for certain whether that was maintained,” Marcus said.

UCSF Associate Chief of Cardiology for Research Dr. Gregory Marcus is the senior author of a small, recent weight gain study.

About 300 people from 37 states, reported their weight measurements from Bluetooth-connected smart scales and weighed themselves regularly.

Pre-shelter in place, participants of the study were said to be losing weight.

“We were able to look at effects when the shelter in place hit and we suspect these individuals are more health-conscious than many. Our concern is that this is an underestimate of weight gain a majority of Americans experienced in the shelter in place,” Marcus said.

Dr. Marcus says America already went into the pandemic with a weight gain problem and the forced sedentary lifestyle certainly contributed to weight gain for many.

“This is one of the unintended consequences of shelter in place orders that are of course created to mitigate against harm, so I think it’s becoming clear that with such orders, there should be instructions to remember to stay physically active,” Marcus said.

Dr. Marcus says it’s important to get your heart rate up for at least 20-30 minutes a day, as weight gain can contribute to heart disease in various forms.

“We just don’t all recognize how much exercise we get just in the course of our normal day when we aren’t being asked to stay at home,” Marcus said.

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