French digital health firm Withings, better known for its smart scales, has conducted a study to see how COVID-19 lockdowns have affected the health of its users, and the results showed a smaller than expected increase in weight, a global yoga craze and an increase in exercise in some areas of the US.
“But although many fear self-isolation is leading to excessive comfort food weight gain, Withings has found that, actually, most people haven’t put on that many extra pounds. In fact, in the U.S., only 37% of people have gained more than a pound, with the average U.S. weight gain at only .21 pounds (.095 kg). Other countries have seen similar weight gain trends of people gaining around a half of a pound or less,” writes Susie Felber in Withings blog.
Withings used its technology to analyze weight, physical activity, sleep patterns, body temperature, exercise routines, night-time breathing disturbances and heart rate irregularities of its users during the coronavirus lockdown.
About weight gains during self-isolation in people in other countries, the results showed that:
- United Kingdom: the average person has gained .35 lbs (.16 kg)
- Germany: the average person has gained .41 lbs (.189 kg)
- China: the average person has gained .55 lbs (.25 kg)
- Italy: the average person has gained .42 lbs (.195 kg)
- France: the average person has only gained .19 lbs (.084 kg)
Results also showed that in the US people have only decreased their daily steps by an average of 7% during isolation, compared with 12% globally. Findings, however, varied from state to state, with New York seeing the largest decrease in daily steps of 22%, where lockdown restrictions are the toughest.
The pandemic has also given us a few more minutes of shut eye, according to the study. In the U.S., Withings users have seen their Sleep Score increase by an average of 2 points during self-isolation. In other countries, people are just sleeping longer.
The results also revealed a global surge in yoga, which saw a 42% increase in popularity, hiking (up 34%), indoor cycling (a 19% increase) and running (an 18% increase).
Withings conducted the study by analyzing the anonymous aggregated data from over 2 million users, with at least 100,000 in each country. To create the data around the self-isolation time period for each country, Withings set each country’s start of self-isolation and included data from that date to April 18, 2020. The self-isolation data was compared to aggregated data from January 1, 2020, to the self-isolation date for each country, Withings said.