TUESDAY, April 11, 2023 (HealthDay News) -- The COVID-19 pandemic led to a change in how Americans view risks for obesity and benefits of treatment, according to a study published online March 8 in Surgery for Obesity and Related Diseases.
Roger Kissin, from Communication Partners and Associates in New York City, and colleagues assessed whether America’s views on obesity changed during the COVID-19 pandemic. The survey of 1,714 Americans was conducted in December 2021, with responses compared to a similar survey five years prior.
The researchers found that nearly three in 10 Americans (29 percent) became more worried about having obesity, with greater concern seen among Black and Hispanic Americans (45 percent). This worry led an estimated 28 million people to explore obesity treatments not considered before the pandemic, including 6.4 million who thought about bariatric surgery or taking prescription obesity drugs.
"We've definitely seen a significant rise in interest in weight-loss surgery and other underutilized treatments since obesity was linked to worse outcomes from COVID-19," a coauthor said in a statement. "COVID-19 lit the match for many people to get healthier and protect themselves from severe disease, whether that be COVID-19, diabetes, or heart disease."