Self-quarantine and weight gain related risk factors during the COVID-19 pandemic

Obes Res Clin Pract. 2020 May-Jun;14(3):210-216. doi: 10.1016/j.orcp.2020.05.004. Epub 2020 May 21.


Objective: The purpose of this study was to quantify the impact that self-quarantine has on behaviors associated with weight gain.

Methods: This was a quantitative descriptive/correlational research design. Research announcement was sent out via Facebook to 1200 possible participants. Six surveys were condensed into a single Survey Monkey questionnaire for participants to complete. Surveys asked questions relating to risk factors linked to weight gain.

Results: Ninety-one percent of our sample stated they spend more time at home now than before COVID-19. Twenty-two percent of the sample stated they gained 5-10 pounds. Within those who gained 5-10 pounds, there was a significantly higher percentage of the total sample who reported they increased eating in response to sight and smell (p = .048), eating in response to stress (p = .041), and snacking after dinner (p = .016) compared to those who stated they did not change those behaviors at all. There were significant relationships between predictor variables hours of sleep per night and physical activity time on reported weight gain (r = -.195, p = .021, r = -.155, p = .034, respectively).

Conclusion: Risk factors for weight gain during self-quarantine are inadequate sleep, snacking after dinner, lack of dietary restraint, eating in response to stress, and reduced physical activity.

Keywords: COVID-19; Pandemic; Quarantine; Weight gain.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Betacoronavirus*
  • COVID-19
  • Coronavirus Infections / complications
  • Coronavirus Infections / psychology*
  • Diet / methods
  • Diet / psychology*
  • Exercise
  • Feeding Behavior / psychology
  • Female
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Pandemics
  • Pneumonia, Viral / complications
  • Pneumonia, Viral / psychology*
  • Quarantine / psychology*
  • Risk Factors
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Sedentary Behavior*
  • Sleep Deprivation / complications
  • Sleep Deprivation / psychology
  • Stress, Psychological / etiology
  • Stress, Psychological / psychology
  • Weight Gain*