The pandemic has been difficult on so many levels—physical, mental, emotional, financial—the list could go on and on. A report released by the American Psychological Association warns that the impact of these stressors could bring about a “second pandemic — one that would persist even after the physical threat of the virus has been addressed.” Subsequent surveys are proving this to be true.
One such survey conducted in February 2021 found that “physical health may be declining due to an inability to cope in healthy ways with the stresses of the pandemic.” Two out of every three of the survey’s 3,013 respondents said they were sleeping more or sleeping less than they should be and almost half had put off or canceled healthcare services. The majority of those surveyed reported having experienced an undesirable change in their weight as well with 42% saying they’ve gained weight. The average amount of weight gained was 29 pounds.
Not surprisingly, much of the weight gain has been caused by a change in habits due to social distancing. A social media survey conducted by MU Health Care asked followers how their habits had changed during the pandemic. Sixty-eight percent said they were snacking more, 74% said they were cooking more at home, and 54% said they were exercising less. Even celebrities have come out to share their weight-gain stories and how the pandemic impacted their health.
Impact of Stress
Metabolic changes due to the fight-or-flight syndrome may have played a role in weight gain during the pandemic. John Morton, MD, MPH, MHA, the medical director of bariatric surgery the Yale New Haven Health System describes how in an effort to conserve energy that might be needed for “running away or combat.”
Personalized habit change is the path forward
While the reasons for weight gain—during a pandemic or not—can be multifaceted, the way to lose the weight and regain one’s health doesn’t have to be complicated. As we transition back to some sense of normalcy, it’s likely that many individuals will begin to recognize the various ways in which the pandemic affected their health. Whether it’s weight gain, depression, anxiety, or just poor habit choices, the sooner the issues are addressed, the less likely they are to turn into long-term health struggles.
Newtopia’s personalized approach addresses improving health, wellbeing, resilience, and human performance. We tailor each participant’s experience based on unique health risks, genetics, medical history, motivation, social determinants of health, personal preferences, and goals.
On top of this personalization, Newtopia provides what our participants consider to be one of the biggest benefits of the program: our Inspirators. Inspirators are professional health coaches who help guide, encourage, and hold participants accountable along their journey. Each participant matches to their Inspirator using a proprietary personality matching algorithm. We’ve been able to achieve a high level of success using this method as fewer than 1% of participants have ever requested a new match. Inspirators provide accountability, while digital tools such as connected devices and interactive apps drive engagement.
Brad, a participant who initially just wanted to lose a few pounds so his clothes would fit better, actually lost 25 pounds during his Newtopia experience. “My favorite component is my Inspirator, Blanche. She has helped me make gradual changes to my diet over the course of a few months–changes that not only helped me lose weight but also have me more focused on my health and what I am actually putting into my body. She is focused on the same goal and she holds me accountable, which is exactly what I need to remain focused on my goal.”
Time to make an impact is now
Employers can help by offering a personalized habit change experience like Newtopia’s solution that prevents, reverses, and slows the progression of chronic disease while enriching mental health, resilience, and human performance of employees. It’s a new approach that actually works—even during a pandemic.
Learn more about Newtopia’s solutions here.