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Body mass index in young men in Switzerland after the national shutdowns during the COVID-19 pandemic: Results from a cross-sectional monitoring study at the population level since 2010


Meili, Samuel; Brabec, Marek; Rühli, Frank; Buehrer, Thomas Werner; Gültekin, Nejla; Stanga, Zeno; Bender, Nicole; Staub, Kaspar; Reber, Emilie (2022). Body mass index in young men in Switzerland after the national shutdowns during the COVID-19 pandemic: Results from a cross-sectional monitoring study at the population level since 2010. European Journal of Public Health, 32(6):955-961.

Abstract

Background: Owing to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Swiss goverment imposed a shutdown twice, which may have changed diet and physical activity. Regarding the question of weight change during the pandemic, little information based on measured weight data is available. We aimed to investigate whether the body mass indices (BMIs) of young Swiss men after the two shutdowns in spring and fall 2020 differed from those of young men examined before the shutdowns.

Methods: We analysed young Swiss men's BMIs taken during mandatory recruitment for the Swiss Armed Forces at the cross-sectional (not individual longitudinal) monitoring level and across weeks of conscription between January 2010 and July 2021 (n = 373,016). These data allow for continuous health monitoring of young men at almost the population level (coverage, >90%). For statistical modelling, we used the generalised additive model (GAM) framework.

Results: We showed that the BMIs of the conscripts examined in the 15 weeks after the two shutdowns in spring and autumn 2020 were not or only slightly different from their baseline values. Sensitivity analyses revealed that this conclusion also holds if the BMI distribution or prevalence of excess weight is assessed. The GAM further showed the significant effects of individual and area-based measures of socioeconomic position and age on BMI.

Conclusion: Our results suggest that lifestyle changes during the pandemic in young men might have been too modest to be reflected in body weight. However, longitudinal data and/or data on women, children, or the elderly may lead to different conclusions.

Keywords: BMI; GAM; Lockdown; Monitoring; Obesity; Swiss Conscription.

Abstract

Background: Owing to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Swiss goverment imposed a shutdown twice, which may have changed diet and physical activity. Regarding the question of weight change during the pandemic, little information based on measured weight data is available. We aimed to investigate whether the body mass indices (BMIs) of young Swiss men after the two shutdowns in spring and fall 2020 differed from those of young men examined before the shutdowns.

Methods: We analysed young Swiss men's BMIs taken during mandatory recruitment for the Swiss Armed Forces at the cross-sectional (not individual longitudinal) monitoring level and across weeks of conscription between January 2010 and July 2021 (n = 373,016). These data allow for continuous health monitoring of young men at almost the population level (coverage, >90%). For statistical modelling, we used the generalised additive model (GAM) framework.

Results: We showed that the BMIs of the conscripts examined in the 15 weeks after the two shutdowns in spring and autumn 2020 were not or only slightly different from their baseline values. Sensitivity analyses revealed that this conclusion also holds if the BMI distribution or prevalence of excess weight is assessed. The GAM further showed the significant effects of individual and area-based measures of socioeconomic position and age on BMI.

Conclusion: Our results suggest that lifestyle changes during the pandemic in young men might have been too modest to be reflected in body weight. However, longitudinal data and/or data on women, children, or the elderly may lead to different conclusions.

Keywords: BMI; GAM; Lockdown; Monitoring; Obesity; Swiss Conscription.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > Institute of Evolutionary Medicine
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
Uncontrolled Keywords:Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
Language:English
Date:29 November 2022
Deposited On:23 Aug 2022 11:49
Last Modified:27 Jun 2024 01:39
Publisher:Oxford University Press
ISSN:1101-1262
OA Status:Hybrid
Free access at:PubMed ID. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1093/eurpub/ckac111
PubMed ID:35993882
  • Content: Published Version
  • Language: English
  • Licence: Creative Commons: Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)