The impact of social distancing and self-isolation in the last corona COVID-19 outbreak on the body weight in Sulaimani governorate- Kurdistan/Iraq, a prospective case series study

Ann Med Surg (Lond). 2020 Sep 18. doi: 10.1016/j.amsu.2020.09.024. Online ahead of print.


BACKGROUND: Our area, corona (COVID-19) quarantine was applied from March 14 to April 23, 2020. It was in all forms, including curfew, social distancing, self-quarantine, area quarantine, self-monitoring, and isolation. Due to their concerns about their safety and families, friends, colleagues, and society, everybody was feeling upset, fearful, and anxious. Several studies have reported an association between prolonged sitting time and weight gain. As a way to relieve the tension during that period, people started stocking up on unhealthy foods like over-salted snacks and over-sweetened sugars. People stayed at home, feeling bored, anxious, and stressed and sought relief by eating. Also, there was a rise in emotional eating when the stress of isolation increased by the closure of gyms, casinos, and movie theaters. Moreover, restaurants were allowed to serve the only takeout. Besides, unemployment was skyrocketing, hospitals were overflowing (or were preparing for the possibility), many people were struggling to meet their basic needs, and no one knows when or how it would end.

OBJECTIVE: The study aimed to figure out whether social isolation during the COVID-19 quarantine is consistent and associated with emotional eating and gaining weight or not.

METHODS: A prospective cross-sectional case series study was conducted on 765 patients who have visited the bariatric clinic in Sulaimani city, Kurdistan-Iraq, from April 23 to June 23, 2020. An individual face-to-face interview was conducted with each participant to obtain signed informed consent, provide them with information about the type and the subject of the work, and ask them the study’s questions. Each interview lasted between 30 and 45 min and was conducted in a closed session by two Kurdistan Board trainees.

RESULTS: No patient who was quarantined for the COVID-19 was included in the work, but all other patients were included. The selected patients were those who had undergone social distancing (n = 568, 82.48%) by the local law and did self-isolation (n = 134, 17.51%) at home for reasons like having comorbidity, being prone to contamination due to their jobs (health, police, and media workers), having some family members at home with comorbidity (n = 23, 03.00%), and having comorbidity and having undergone social distancing because of their other family members’ need to do so for their physical disability (n = 25, 03.27%). Almost all patients (n = 741, 96.86%), even, those with comorbidity (n = 136, 17.78%), were emotionally stable before the outbreak. Seventy-three female patients (09.54%) and138 males (20.65%) sustain their weight during and two months after the outbreak, while the rest (n = 554, 72.41%) gained different amounts of weight.

CONCLUSION: Social distancing and self-isolation in the last COVID-19 outbreak influenced weight gain, but weight gain of less than 2 kg was observed among almost all patients who gained weight (98.05%). The patients who were gain more than 3 kg were mostly females or/and from the center of large cities.

PMID:32963773 | PMC:PMC7499371 | DOI:10.1016/j.amsu.2020.09.024