Although the consequences of the pandemic on the general well-being of people are beginning to be seen more frequently in medical consultations, it is also remarkable how much awareness has been raised about the urgent need to carry out healthy habits that include aspects of nutrition, physical activity and also the search for activities related to leisure in order to reduce stress.
“Both local and global studies coincide in pointing out that more than 60% of people gained weight compared to the pre-pandemic as a result of low physical activity, increased alcohol consumption and “emotional eating” linked to to stress. Other variables, such as sleep disturbances and changes in habits and routines, also had an impact”, points out the Dr. Pamela Szlain (MN 137935 | MP 550657), specialist in Nutrition and in General and Family Medicine at Medifé.
And he points out that during the pandemic, those who were already overweight were the most affected people. It is that obesity brings in the short, medium and long term endless health problems, such as cardiometabolic and/or renal alterations; increased risk of diabetes, high blood pressure, pain, joint problems; or suffer consequences in sexual and reproductive health.
Among the main recommendations that Dr. Szlain mentions to improve health and generate well-being, are meal planning (including purchases, schedules, the menu), eating a healthy diet, including vegetables and fruits, and avoiding processed and ultra-processed foods . In turn, it is essential to plan -as far as possible- a physical activity and a recreational activity that the person enjoys. This will help manage stress and also improve sleep and rest.
According to the specialist, “with physical activity, muscles are strengthened and body fat is lowered, thus helping to reduce the possibility of suffering from cardiovascular diseases. In turn, insulin sensitivity is increased and this reduces the risk of diabetes, high blood pressure and cholesterol. Simultaneously, the release of endorphins decreases the risk of suffering from depression”.
On the other hand, he points out that from his experience, patients are more attentive to taking care of their health compared to the pre-pandemic. “Covid-19 prompted a new trend, which is strengthened by the possibility of conducting all kinds of gym or yoga classes via streaming, for example,” Dr. Szlain emphasizes.
In this framework, companies and organizations took up the post. As an example, Medifé enables its associates to have free access to Vitality, the wellness program that uses the power of incentives, data and behavioral economics to promote physical activity and reward achievements.
Vitality works through a mobile application, which proposes weekly physical activity goals. The activity is recorded through a cell phone or smart watch, linked to the application, which measures the number of steps and/or the heart rate. By meeting the weekly goal, users add points that can then be exchanged for vouchers, discounts or physical prizes at the Vitality Argentina Mall.
This is just one example of how all social actors can collaborate in spreading healthy habits that improve people’s quality of life.