POLL: The 'Quarantine 15' Is Real


The “quarantine 15” is very real.

Lockdown has caused widespread weight gain, according to two new Web MD polls. In the United States, more women say they’ve put on the pounds in isolation, while internationally, more men report they’ve had to loosen their belts thanks to the pandemic.

In a poll of 1,012 US WebMD readers, 47% of women and 22% of men responded they have gained weight “due to COVID restrictions.” Most said their weight gain was relatively minimal, with 75% reporting a weight gain between 1 and 9 pounds. Only 4 percent of respondents said they had packed on over 21 pounds, and 21% said they’d gained between 10 and 20.

In a separate poll of 900 international WebMD readers, 34% of women and 55% of men reported weight gain in quarantine. Of foreign respondents, 66% of Italians and 60% of Brazilians said the numbers on the scale went up as a result of the coronavirus, putting those nations at the top of the list for most impacted in terms of weight gain. At the bottom of the list are Germany and Hong Kong, with only 26% and 25% of residents, respectively, saying their weight had increased during the pandemic.

For Americans, a 59% majority blamed their heavier figures on a lack of exercise and stress eating, while 21% said it was because they’d been drinking more alcohol. While the WHO called booze an “unhelpful coping strategy” since it directly affects the immune system, sales of alcoholic beverages have risen in the US as a way to cope with the pandemic.

For those outside the US, a lack of exercise was cited as the leading cause of weight gain, followed by stress eating, with more alcohol only being the cause for 17% of people.