As the UK’s leading provider of bariatric surgery, we’ve experienced an unprecedented level of weight loss surgery enquiries during lockdown. This World Obesity Day (4th March), we’d like to highlight some of the reasons we believe this has happened.
The Hospital Group saw weight loss enquiries skyrocket in the second half of 2020, increasing by 68% compared to the same period in 2019.
While patient enquiries naturally took a significant dip between April and June 2020 during the tightest lockdown restrictions, they rose sharply in July as curbs began to lift. Enquiries between June and September were 576% higher than they had been in the previous three months.
Some interesting information was gathered in a survey we conducted of 1,000 people living with obesity. The results revealed that for many people, lockdown may have led to weight gain as they turned to food or drink for comfort, or as a result of increased periods of inactivity. Our research showed that 64% of those surveyed claimed they’ve put on weight during lockdown, with 12% gaining 6kg or more and 33% saying they had lost motivation to lose weight. The main cause discovered was eating due to feeling bored, with 68% of people highlighting this as the reason, and 46% felt lockdown has had a negative impact on their mental health.
In some instances, lockdown weight gain may have pushed those who were previously classed as overweight into the obese category (with a BMI of 30 or above), and those in the obese category into a worse position.
Martin Richardson, medical director and weight loss surgeon for The Hospital Group, said, “Living with obesity has established wider health implications such as the onset of diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease. Evidence during the pandemic also shows those with a BMI of between 35 and 40 have a 40% increase in risk of death due to COVID-19. It increases to 90% for those with a BMI above 40.
“Over a quarter of the UK population is living with obesity, and the number of people experiencing weight problems is expected to rise very significantly in the next 20 years. This is a very real health crisis which may well have been exacerbated by lockdown, as our enquiry figures and survey suggest.”
We firmly believe that it’s vital for people to understand the weight loss options available to them, and that the NHS and independent providers must work collaboratively to help deliver these. This is particularly true for those who are at serious risk of obesity-related complications and are unable to lose weight through diet and exercise alone.
To start your own weight loss journey, book a free consultation today.
 A Censuswide survey of 1001 UK respondents living with obesity, conducted on behalf of Transform Hospital Group, between 22 and 24 September 2020.