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Survey: Czechs gain weight and become more depressed

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COVID-19 pandemic shows a negative effect on the Czechs’ physical and mental health. Citizens started gaining weight, smoking and getting more depressed, the results of the November survey by Mutumut insurance and EMA Data with 500 respondents shows.

In the last seven months of quarantine, Czechs have had less physical activity, which led to a third of the respondents gaining weight. 30 percent gained 5 kg while 13 percent gained 10 kg.

“COVID-19 is known to be much worse for people who are significantly overweight or obese,” stated Jindřich Lenz, the CEO of Mutumut.

Respondents under the age of 25 stopped exercising following the closure of gyms and swimming pools. Some of them work out at home, but not as actively as before. Lenz added that the most vulnerable group of people under 55 doesn’t work out either. Also, they don’t have an option to do sports activities outside because it’s getting colder.

Nearly half of the respondents started smoking more since the beginning of the lockdown. Five percent admitted to starting smoking even though they didn’t do it before the quarantine. Jiří Paták, the EMA data executive, however, added that people over 55 started smoking less.

Depression and anxiety disorders became more common for people during the lockdown. Respondents started having more negative thoughts and feelings. Third of the people reported the deterioration of their mental health, and every tenth of them reported a significant deterioration.

The quarantine can lead to apathetic behavior and loss of interest. Jiří Brančík, the head of the psychological department at the Military Hospital in Brno, stated that people with tendencies towards depression are at a higher risk. “The current crisis can be a trigger for such people,” Brančík added.

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