The survey including 530 participants was dedicated to investigating the relation between weight changes and lifestyles of Chinese people during the epidemic. The present survey indicates that 43.77% participants gained weight by 2.99 ± 2.29 kg averagely during a self-quarantine for several months. The imbalance between energy intake and energy expenditure is the essential cause of weight change. Excessive energy intake may result in increased fat storage capacity and weight gain, even obesity, insulin resistance and lipotoxicity in severe cases (14). The problematic eating behaviors such as frequent overeating, snacking after dinner, eating in response to stress are the risk factors for weight gain during the self-isolation in USA and Poland (15, 16). Even though the weight gain was slight relatively, this small change in weight for adults may contribute to substantial increases over decades (5).
Because of the impact of self-isolation and holidays, people have reduced physical activity especially in daily exercise step change. People were easier to gain weight in average of 0.5 kg during holiday than usual (12, 17). Unhealthy dietary habits, such as irregular eating and excessive food intake, are the essential factors resulting in weight gain. Nevertheless, sleep time was not related to weight change in our survey. However, it is worth paying attention to the generalized depressive symptoms and lower sleep quality during COVID-19 outbreak in China(2).
As we all know, excessive food intake and lack of exercise could lead to gain weight. Nevertheless, gender and depression were associated to weight gain in our statistical analysis. The multiple linear regression of weight gain confirmed that males were easier to gain weight than females. Through analyzing the difference of four groups (underweight, normal weight, overweight and obesity) in BMI change and weight change before and during the home confinement, we found unexpectedly that participants of normal weight gained more weight than obese objects, resulting from small samples in obese group (n = 19). Likewise, our survey indicated that self-reported depression was related to gain weight, which coincided with the previous study (6).
Most participants tended to lose weight and were not satisfied with current weight, and our study reveals that weight-loss people had a decreased food intake comparing weight-gain people. So if one want to lose weight during quarantine, these suggestions you can take: 1) don’t take excessive food and minimize food intake based on maintaining daily energy requirements, 2) use the health management apps which is used to make a home exercise plan, boohee health app which can provide dietary guidance and record daily calorie intake, 3) take note of your weight every day by using weight scale to prevent from gaining weight, which is the effective way to manage weight (17, 18).
Although our survey provided an insight into variables affecting weight change during home confinement, there were some limitations: 1) due to the various educational backgrounds of the participants, the understanding of some items in the questionnaire was not clear, 2) since this questionnaire was published on the online platform, there was a lack of relevant professionals to guide participants to fill out the questionnaire, 3) in the option settings of some questions, objective standardization was not achieved, such as eating habits, and participants were more subjective.
The survey exposed that food intake was the key course of weight change, increasing food intake may resulting weight gain, and decreasing food intake may leading to weight loss, which coincided with the current clinical research on reducing food intake through alternate fasting to achieve weight loss(19, 20).