The COVID-19 pandemic now has over three million confirmed cases around the world with a rising death toll. Regardless of the imposed restrictions, bans, and nationwide lockdowns, the chief of the World Health Organization has emphasized that the virus is likely to stay for a longer than the anticipated period of time in a recent statement from this month.
Consequently, people are advised to continue to follow the official guidelines and instructions from health authorities such as the WHO or the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention until there are no confirmed reports of controlling the pandemic.
However, various authorities have noted that the health crisis has increased the risk of a number of other health issues due to social distancing and staying at home including both mental and physical issues.
According to sources, the rise of mental disorders is an expected outcome with high levels of anxiety and stress due to the prevailing fear of contracting the coronavirus infection.
Many people who are unable to leave home or are stuck with abusive family members are also likely to get depressive episodes and potentially experience more mental or physical abuse. At the same time, there are also several reports on the increased likelihood of certain health conditions including diabetes.
Diabetes, which is already one of the major issues in the western countries and the rest of the world, may also be one of the outcomes of the COVID-19 pandemic. Statistically, there are millions of cases of diabetes worldwide with the majority of them being of type 2 diabetes.
In accordance with the researchers, the risk of developing type 2 diabetes during the lockdown is elevated due to the consumption of unhealthy foods and lack of physical exercise which may lead to obesity – the biggest contributor to diabetes.
Similarly, the chances of having obesity and diabetes are not only limited to adults but also to children. Therefore, health experts have suggested maintaining diet and finding different physical activities within the home to lower the risk of both of these health conditions.
While exercising can be easily done at home via using ordinary equipment such as water bottles, eating healthy requires going outdoors and buying appropriate and long-lasting foods and is a far more difficult process especially during a global lockdown.
For this purpose, Katherine Basbaum, who is a clinical dietitian at the University of Virginia’s Health’s Heart and Vascular Cente, has advised people to stick to the basics and essentially look for staple or wholesome foods while heading out for buying the groceries.
In addition, Basbaum emphasizes the importance of buying a few items, that can also be stored for longer periods of time, in stock.
She explains that as many stores do not have as many options as they did prior to the pandemic and outdoor time should be cut down, it is better to buy groceries for at least three to four weeks together. However, remember to buy extra but also not go overboard at the same time.
Non-perishable items are also a good option but make sure to only stick to the healthy ones. For example, Basabaum suggests healthy non-perishable items including quinoa, brown rice, frozen vegetables, whole-grain pasta, and broths.
There are also plenty of perishable items that can be bought and not be consumed the very next day such as bananas, sweet potatoes, and root vegetables. Cooking at home is also not only healthy but also cuts down the risk of obesity and diabetes and is safer during the COVID-19 pandemic.
While many people are relying on takeouts, Basabaum does not recommend eating prepared foods all the time since they are usually unhealthy.
People with underlying conditions should specifically be careful and watch their diets more closely to not only avoid health complications but cut down the risk of contracting coronavirus.