NEW YORK (AP) — Jennifer Bergin was already obese and pre-diabetic before the pandemic, and learning she also had high blood pressure made her worry about how sick she might get with COVID-19. She began walking three hours a day, eventually losing 60 pounds.

“I just knew I was a prime candidate for getting it and not recovering,” said Bergin, a 50-year-old resident of Charlotte, North Carolina. Now 170 pounds and 5 feet, 4 inches tall, she is no longer considered obese, but would like to continue improving her health.

Since the early days of the pandemic, health officials have warned that obesity and related conditions such as diabetes were risk factors for severe COVID-19. It was another reminder of the many underlying health issues often signaled by obesity — as well as of how stubbornly difficult sustained weight loss can be. Even faced with such risks, it’s not clear how common Bergin’s dramatic weight loss may be. 

Across the country, countless people of all body sizes have either gained or lost weight during the pandemic. For some like Bergin, no longer commuting to an office meant more time for walking, eating out less and greater control over what she ate.

But for others, …read more



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