Survey Finds Americans' Mental and Physical Health Plummeting Due to Pandemic Stress
by Connor McNulty, March 22, 2021
A survey conducted by the American Phycological Association (APA) found alarming results regarding Americans ability to manage stress, citing rising levels of alcohol consumption, weight gain and mental health issues within the last year.
Twelve months into the pandemic, the APA’s survey, which was conducted in late February and released earlier this month, attempted to chronicle the effect of the Wuhan Coronavirus on the U.S. adult population using a wide assortment of general heath questions.
The results depicts a growing health crisis of stress and the devastating effects of the Covid lockdowns on Americans across the county.
The survey found that 61 percent of respondents experienced undesired weight change, with the average for those who gained weight being 29 pounds and the average for those who lost weight being 26 pounds. Notably, Millennials reported the largest average weight gain of 41 pounds.
Holy cow: 42% of Americans report undesired weight gain during Covid 19. The average weight gain is 29 lbs. And 41 lbs for Millennials! This will ramify for years to come. https://t.co/iRnyMDxbmX pic.twitter.com/tR9tcnt4s7
— Jonathan Rauch (@jon_rauch) March 22, 2021
The APA also reported dramatic changes in the sleeping and drinking habits of American adults. Noting that 67 percent have been sleeping either more or less than they desired and 25 percent have been consuming more alcohol to cope with the stress of the pandemic.
The report goes on to detail how Covid-19 has affected parents with nearly half of all mothers saying their mental health has worsened and 30 percent of fathers reporting the same. Parents were also far more likely to report receiving a new mental health diagnosis as well as undergo treatment from a mental health professional.
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Similar mental health effects were found for essential workers with 54 percent reporting they have relied on "unhealthy habits to get through the pandemic," and a quarter reporting a new mental health diagnosis.
All in all, while the Wuhan coronavirus and the yearlong shutdown that followed were expected to bring with them negative health effects, the survey highlights the severity with which everyday Americans are struggling due to the pandemic.
Whether it be weight gain, a decline in mental health or an increase in alcohol consumption, the devastating stress caused by Covid-19 and the lockdowns are destroying the health of Americans. Going forward, it’s imperative the country’s leaders remember and respect these second order health consequences as they make policies.
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