LAS CRUCES, N.M. (KRQE) – Researchers from New Mexico State University found that in a group of 3,400 people, the pandemic fueled stress-related, unhealthy eating. A study shows 48% reported gaining weight during the first 12 months of the pandemic. Contributing factors included being overweight before the pandemic, having children at home, or having depression or anxiety.

“Obesity was an epidemic before the pandemic, and little was known on body weight changes in the past year for adult Americans,” said Jagdish Khubchandani in a news release, a public health professor at NMSU. “We wanted to estimate weight changes in the U.S. population and its determinants after the first year of the pandemic.”

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According to a news release from NMSU, the study was published in “Diabetes and Metabolic Syndrome: Clinical Research and Reviews and those who reported weight gain were more likely to be males, white or Hispanic, married, 45 years old or older, working full time, have less than a college education or living in southern and western states or rural areas of the U.S.

Khubchandani said in the news release that the pandemic may widen existing health disparities and increase the chronic disease burden for some groups. He advocates for community-based health promotion interventions to increase physical activity and improve diet among adults.

To read the study, visit