According to new numbers released by the Centers for Disease Control, about 30 percent of Alaska adults are obese, up slightly in 2019 over the previous year.
Obesity is a comorbidity factor for COVID-19, and those carrying excess weight also tend to develop diabetes, heart disease, and more than a dozen types of cancer.
The CDC says obese people are three times more likely to end up hospitalized for the Wuhan virus, and have a greater likelihood of dying from the disease.
But Alaska is not at the top of the list for obesity. That award goes to states in deep red on the map above. Only Colorado is in the green zone, with obesity under 25 percent of the population.
Anecdotally, Americans may be actually getting even fatter from the unintended consequences of stay home orders by various governments trying to stop the spread of COVID-19.
In the publication Yale Medicine, doctors are reporting that while some people have lost weight during quarantines and lockdowns, others have put on the “Quarantine 15” pounds.
Dr. John Morton, medical director of bariatric surgery at Yale New Haven Health System, said he has seen patients in telehealth appointments who have gained as much as 30 pounds.
“Anecdotally, we are definitely seeing weight gain,” Dr. Morton said. “You can put on 30 pounds really quickly—you can do it in three months.”
With gym and park closures disrupting people’s exercise routines, and with stress for parents who are not only trying to work from home but also educating their children at home, life for Americans is radically different than it was during the last CDC weight survey last year.
Add to that the fact that people are not going to the doctor, not weighing themselves, and not having blood and blood pressure tests performed because of the move to telehealth appointments.
Stress is a factor in weight gain. Stress hormones can prevent the metabolism from working properly, as the body goes into a pattern of trying to conserve every calorie. People also can eat more as a reaction to stress.
The percentage of Alaska adults with obesity in 2019 was more than twice what it was 25 years ago. That includes about one out of every three Alaska children carrying excess, unhealthy pounds, according to the CDC.