A new study by Australia’s national science agency has found that weight control and emotional wellbeing have suffered throughout the COVID-19 lockdown.
A new study by Australia's national science agency has found that weight control and emotional wellbeing have suffered throughout the COVID-19 lockdown.
The survey of nearly 4000 CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet online community members found that respondents are emerging from COVID-19 lockdown feeling their exercise (66 per cent), emotional wellbeing (41 percent) and diet (36 per cent) had worsened to some degree.
Two in five indicated they have gained weight during the outbreak while 90 per cent of participants reported feeling there have been a negative impact on their social connectivity.
CSIRO Behavioural Scientist and report author Dr Emily Brindal described the findings as reflective of the challenges that millions of Australians are facing as they struggle to maintain wellbeing amidst a significant lifestyle shift.
"Our analysis found that the COVID-19 outbreak has negatively impacted respondents' health and wellbeing," Dr Brindal said.
"Increased concern about finances and the certainty of the future also featured strongly, as restrictions ease and respondents adjust to a new normal."
Of the respondents who have gained weight during the COVID-19 outbreak, 61 per cent reported an increase in junk food consumption and 63 per cent reported an increase in snacking.
The research also showed that some personality types are finding this time more challenging than others.
"Almost 60 per cent of respondents reported a negative shift in their overall satisfaction with life," Dr Brindal said.
"This number was noticeably higher for those who were identified as highly extroverted, with this group seeing significant impact from the lack of social interaction.
"Those identified as highly emotional eaters also reported higher decreases in their average wellbeing levels than others.
Dr Brindal said the findings reinforce the important relationship between physical and emotional wellbeing.
"We know that wellbeing and lifestyle are related, and when you feel rubbish you tend to not be motivated to go to the gym or do some exercise and vice versa, if you eat poor fuel, you don't feel great emotionally," she told Nine.com.au.
Dr Brindal said the study shows that while technology can help people stay connected, it cannot replace the benefits of person-to-person contact.
"It was so sudden and so dramatic, and I think people did try to connect through Zoom and Skype and video calls, but the reality is it's just not the same," she said.
Not only did the study reveal the importance of how we connect but who we connect with.
Results showed people were in fact spending more time with their family than before the pandemic, but Dr Brindal suggested social connectivity was not just about the people closest to us.
"The whole social aspect is not just about the who are directly connected to you," she said.
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"It's that person you see on the bus every day or the lady at the check-out who you stop to have a conversation with and no matter how many social media platforms you're on, it doesn't give us that same social feedback you get from being out and about and I don't think you can replicate that."
Dr Brindal said the pandemic has acted like a once-in-a-lifetime social study about how people behave when they are forced to isolate and the findings will provide valuable insights as society moves forward toward a new normal.
In light of the findings, today the CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet launched a new and improved online program to now include positive psychology tools with a focus on boosting wellbeing and mood.
Using the positive psychology research, the new online tools will help members to gain skills in optimistic thinking and guide them in daily practices that are scientifically validated to build positive emotions.
"The survey findings indicate a clear need for something to give Australians a mood boost as they emerge from lockdown and adapt to the new normal," Dr Brindal said.
"Lockdown has proven to be a time of both challenge and opportunity for Australians, with this 'global pause' allowing us to reset and rebuild as we look towards the future."
Source: 9News https://www.9news.com.au/national/csiro-study-find-australians-gaining-weight-suffering-decline-emotional-wellbeing-during-coronavirus-lockdown/6a1d71c8-5df3-4d1e-8eaa-778aa9436301