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Effect of SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) Pandemic and Lockdown on Body Weight, Maladaptive Eating Habits, Anxiety, and Depression in a Bariatric Surgery Waiting List Cohort

  • Albert, Umberto1, 2
  • Losurdo, Pasquale1
  • Leschiutta, Alessia2
  • Macchi, Serena2
  • Samardzic, Natasa1
  • Casaganda, Biagio3
  • de Manzini, Nicolò1
  • Palmisano, Silvia1
  • 1 University of Trieste,
  • 2 Department of Mental Health, UCO Clinica Psichiatrica, Azienda Sanitaria Universitaria Giuliano-Isontina (ASUGI), Trieste, Italy
  • 3 Surgical Clinic Unit, Azienda Sanitaria Universitaria Giuliano-Isontina (ASUGI), Trieste, Italy
Published Article
Obesity Surgery
Publication Date
Feb 21, 2021
DOI: 10.1007/s11695-021-05257-5
PMID: 33611765
PMCID: PMC7896875
PubMed Central


Purpose On January 30, 2020, the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 as a “public health emergency of international concern.” The primary aim of the study was to evaluate weight and food habit changes during COVID-19 outbreak. The secondary endpoint was to explore the psychological factors, arising during the pandemic, influencing weight and dietary variations. Materials and Methods A survey composed of four different items was conducted by telephone interview: (1) anthropometric data and type of procedure, (2) Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS), (3) maladaptive eating behaviors, and (4) personal feelings moved by the COVID-19 spread and lockdown. Results Fifty-six patients were enrolled. No significant changes in weight, BMI, and maladaptive eating habits were observed. A significant reduction in the anxiety index score was observed. In 17.8% of cases, a change in obesity class was reported, and among these patients, a substantial modification in bariatric procedures was planned (60%). Conclusion This study showed no effect on weight and BMI nor on rates of maladaptive eating habits associated with quarantine/social isolation among severely obese individuals waiting for the bariatric surgery. At the end of lockdown, a considerable proportion of patients modified their initial obesity class, and in selected cases, it could represent a criteria for rearrangement of the planned bariatric procedure. In obese patients, the lockdown and social distancing generated a reduction of fear of confronting and being negatively judged by others. This psychological aspect was assessed with the reduction of the HADS score.

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