How lockdown has hit our health

 

TWO in five Australians have piled on the kilos during the pandemic with CSIRO behavioural scientists discovering that diet, exercise and emotional wellbeing have all been negatively impacted during lockdown.

Findings from a new study released today looked at the behaviours and feelings of nearly 4000 people who follow the CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet and the snapshot is likely to reflect the challenges facing the population as a whole.

The overall finding was that people are worried - concerned as to when life will return to "normal".

Friends Frida Sethman, Cecilia Dowding and Mel Godelmann warm up before going for their beach run at Yaroomba. Photo: Lachie Millard
Friends Frida Sethman, Cecilia Dowding and Mel Godelmann warm up before going for their beach run at Yaroomba. Photo: Lachie Millard

 

Two in five have gained weight during the lockdown months, 66 per cent admit to exercise dropping off and 41 per cent say their emotional wellbeing has worsened.

Lockdown for most Queenslanders began in March so lifestyle has been uprooted for at least 12 weeks.

"According to our research there are clearly concerns around social connectedness, with 90 per cent of respondents feeling that there has been a negative impact on their ability to socialise and celebrate special events.

"Increased concern about finances and the certainty of the future also featured strongly, as restrictions ease and respondents adjust to a new normal," CSIRO Behavioural Scientist and report author Dr Emily Brindal said.

 

Frida Sethman, centre, is a dance and yoga instructor and her clients have been desperate to get back to her classes. Photo: Lachie Millard
Frida Sethman, centre, is a dance and yoga instructor and her clients have been desperate to get back to her classes. Photo: Lachie Millard

 

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 eating many more snacks.

The research also showed that some personality types were 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.

The CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet has a new online program to now include positive psychology tools with a focus on boosting wellbeing and mood to help people ease back into the new normal.

Frida Sethman from Mt Coolum is a dance and yoga instructor and her clients have been desperate to get back to her classes.

"Because my classes were suspended I had more time on my hands and I love to exercise and have a lot of self-discipline so I kept it up," she said.

"But some of my clients reported that they were lazy and unmotivated over the lockdown and needed my guidance to get back into action as soon as possible."

 

Originally published as How lockdown has hit our health



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