The Unintended Health Consequences of COVID

By: Sheila Kun RN, BSN, MS, CPN, FCCP
Salesian Cooperator

I can speak with certainty that the following scenario has happened to many of you – my office mate came to work one day, soberly depressed. In an almost disgusted voice, she lamented: “I cannot believe this is true; I could not zip up my dress this morning. And there is more than one dress that would not fit anymore!”  Unintentional weight gain has happened to us during this COVID season. Look around you, behind the mask, the chin is drooping down; the waist line is at least one or two sizes larger.

It all began in February 2020 that I noticed in one central part of the market that we frequented, that one section was devoted to snacks. All kinds of snacks, imported and local brands seemed to compete with each other under the umbrella of “Quarantine Snack”. Crackers, candies, munchies, chips, instant noodles, cakes, buns… You name it, they have it. Even for me who do not have the habit of snacking found myself looking for edibles in between meals. We had too much time on hand, and no place to go. Guess what, eating is a convenient activity within the confines of our homes.

The gyms are closing down; many of them have declared bankruptcy. What happens to our exercise routine? I guess it has gone down the drain too.  It does not take a mathematician to calculate very quickly that your weight gain is an inevitable health hazard due to the COVID. This peril affects all of us if we do not pay attention to this hidden virus – our lack of self-control given the epidemics.

The newspapers are reporting from many physicians and hospitals that chronic illnesses are not appropriately attended to, because we are afraid to be stuck in an emergency room, thinking that we could expose ourselves to the COVID patients. However, the danger of not recognizing symptoms of deterioration could yield worse health consequences.

Since the COVID situation will not disappear in the near future, it is not too late to be aware of the hidden dangers of our own life style choices. At least for me, bringing the weight gain issues and controlling underlying chronic condition could negate the side effect of staying home.


I have resumed my exercise routine, selecting YouTube Zumba lessons that seem appealing. My favorite is the one that says “Reduce your belly fat in 22 minutes!” Then I mixed with walking for one hour around the neighborhood on the weekend. So far it is manageable.

As for snacking, it is hard to say no. But I now favor blue berries and pine nuts as a healthier choice. In your situation, you might want to examine the sugar content of your snack first to reduce the sugar load. Louis has his own rule; no more than 3 grams of sugar for each food content. He also mentions that portion control is his secret to stay slender and healthy.

Given the horrible consequences of obesity, we will launch at this topic starting next week. Our goal is to understand this epidemic and exercise better control over this hidden threat.

Your homework assignment from the Care Ministry this week: find your healthy snack

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