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Publication Detail
Negative Impact of COVID-19 Lockdown Upon Health-Related Behaviours and Psychological Wellbeing in People Living with Severe and Complex Obesity in the UK
  • Publication Type:
    Working discussion paper
  • Authors:
    Brown A, Flint S, Kalea A, O'Kane M, Williams S, Batterham R
  • Publication date:
  • Status:
Background: Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) had an unparalleled impact and in particular for people with pre-existing health conditions who in some instances were left unsupported due to reduced provision of routine healthcare services. People living with obesity (PLWO) are identified as at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19 infection. Currently, there is a paucity of evidence about the COVID-19 lockdown on PLWO, including those accessing weight management and bariatric surgery services.

Methods: Using an online survey, 543 UK PLWO were recruited. People were invited through social media advertisements, UK charities, obesity advocacy groups, obesity organisations and weight management services.

Findings: PLWO reported that health-related behaviours such as diet, physical activity and sleep were adversely impacted during the first COVID-19 lockdown. Depression, wellbeing and self-reported mental health played a significant role in predicting changes in health-related behaviours. Most PLWO attending weight management services reported reduced access with insufficient communication from their clinical service providers. Perceived stigma remained unchanged during the first COVID-19 lockdown, with the majority of people reporting not experiencing stigma as compared to before COVID-19.

Interpretation: This study shows the detrimental impact of COVID-19 on PLWO in relation to health-related behaviours, mental health and access to healthcare services and support. Our findings highlight the need for greater mental health support for PLWO during future lockdowns.

Funding: This research was funded through University College London and National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Biomedical Research funding.

Declaration of Interests: AB has received funding for investigator-initiated research through an educational grant and travel grants from Cambridge Weight Plan Ltd, received support to attend an obesity conference from Novo Nordisk and is on the scientific advisory board and share holder of Reset Health Clinics Ltd. RLB consultancy with Boehringer Ingelheim, GSK, Novo Nordisk, and Pfizer. MOK has received honorium and support to attend an obesity conference from Novo Nordisk. SW has received international flights, accommodation and subsistence from Novo Nordisk to attend obesity-related meetings. There are no other declarations of interest.

Ethics Approval Statement: The study was granted ethical approval by the UCL Research Ethics Committee (REC number 16191/004).
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