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Lockdown affects weight load, eating behavior and physical activity of Moroccan higher education students

The coronavirus confinement has had negative effects on the weight load, eating behavior and physical activity of higher education students in southern Morocco, study shows.

DR
Estimated read time: 2'

In March 2020, several countries around the world decided to impose a strict lockdown on its citizens to avoid the spread of the then-newly discovered coronavirus. In Morocco, health authorities implemented a lockdown that started in March and was gradually lifted through the summer of 2020.

Although it helped stem the rapid spread of the virus, the confinement had other health consequences, especially on adolescents. A recent survey reveals that the Covid-19 confinement has had negative effects on the weight load, physical activity and eating behavior of higher education students in Morocco.

Analyzing data collected by an anonymous online questionnaire with 406 higher education students in southern Morocco, the study revealed that more than a quarter of the respondents «were overweight or obese».

«We suppose that confinement of the students for three months appears to be the cause of the weight gain since the students were deprived of their normal activities and physical activity in gyms or outside», researchers explained.

Covid-19-related nutritional disorders and stress 

And while «most of the students suffered from nutritional disorders» during the Covid-19 confinement, only one-third of them «were moderately physically active». Researchers blame this on  the fact that confinement deprived these students of participating «in normal daily activities, physical activity and gatherings (social/physical distancing)».

Answers showed, on the other hand, that the majority of students were at risk for stress. «Multivariate analysis showed that the concept of threat of Stress increases the risk of weight gain at a risk level of 2.4 and low physical activity increases the risk level to 1.9», researchers said.

Stress during confinement was mainly due to the difficulties in «adapting to university and new responsibilities of young adults» and the lockdown itself. «Increased stress, anxiety and boredom on a daily basis during the pandemic and during containment would have contributed to higher energy intake, sleep disturbances and less exercise», the same source added.

Indeed, 38.2% of the respondents suffered from sleep disturbance and more than half of them were overweight.

Headed by Mohamed Boukrim from the Laboratory of Biostatistics, Clinical Research and Epidemiology, Faculty of Medicine and Pharmacy, Mohammed V University, Rabat; Higher Institute of Nursing and Health Techniques, Laayoune, the survey relied on five public institutions of higher education with students from the Souss region and the three southern regions. These institutions are located in the capital of the provinces of Agadir Ida-outanane and Laayoune and data were collected from April 01 to June 10, 2020.

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Confirmed Covid-19 cases
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total recovered
 
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USA
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388 533
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151 727
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244 612
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726
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618
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511
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341
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920
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545
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311
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32 800
514
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280
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29 570
275
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909
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28 124
163
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27 336
451
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25 730
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25 368
636
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24 578
140
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24 269
211
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22 178
496
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626
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18 613
425
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18 001
267
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612
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6
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35
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2
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6
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3
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1
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109
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2
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2
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1
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