When the pandemic began, Sandra Tullock found herself putting on some pounds, drinking an extra glass of chardonnay in the evenings and having a hard time sleeping.
The 64-year-old from Jamaica, Queens, in New York City, had had a bariatric bypass several years earlier and lost 100 pounds, so the weight gain and other issues were worrisome. She attributes the issues to anxiety over COVID-19.
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"I live alone and I didn't realize how much I missed not being able to be around my friends,” she says. “It took its toll."
Tullock is not alone. The COVID-19 pandemic is damaging the physical and psychological health of Americans, according to the latest American Psychological Association (APA) survey.
The survey, conducted in late February by the Harris Poll, found that many U.S. adults — particularly parents of children under 18, essential workers, young people, and Black and Hispanic people — have experienced undesired weight changes, are drinking more alcohol and aren't getting their desired amount of sleep.
"We've been concerned throughout this pandemic about the level of prolonged stress, exacerbated by the grief, trauma and isolation that Americans are experiencing,” Arthur C. Evans Jr., APA's chief executive officer, said in a statement. “This survey reveals a secondary crisis that is likely to have persistent, serious mental and physical health consequences for years to come.”
Among the survey's findings:
- 61 percent of adults have experienced undesired weight changes
- 67 percent are sleeping more or less than they want
- 23 percent are drinking more alcohol, including 52 percent of parents with children 5 to 7 years old.