In breaking news that you’d need to be an idiot to not have figured out on your own already: We consumed a lot of alcohol—and TV content—in the earliest days of the COVID-19 pandemic. (No judgments if you’re still doing it; the pandemic is still in full swing, unfortunately.)
As Deadline reports, scientists at UCLA decided to confirm what we already know—and further make us feel ashamed for the sloth-like habits we’ve developed—by digging into just what Americans were doing in the early days of COVID, as restaurants, entertainment venues, and many workplaces began to close up shop. According to Dr. Liwei Chen, an associate professor of epidemiology at UCLA Fielding School and lead author of the study, which was published in the Swiss journal Nutrients on Tuesday:
“We found that regulations to restrict non-essential activities and stay-at-home orders during the pandemic have had profoundly negative impacts on multiple lifestyle behaviors in American adults. As bad as these changes have been for all Americans, they disproportionately impact racial and ethnic minorities in the U.S., who already bear a higher disease burden from COVID-19.”
While the amount of exercise time people engaged in decreased by 31.2 percent, their screen time increased by a whopping 60.4 percent. Alcohol consumption also saw a marked spike—people drank 23.2 percent more—and smoking increased by nine percent. The only positive trend was the decrease in fast food consumption: That number dropped from 1.41 times per week to .96 (though shuttered businesses and loss of income could have something to do with that number, which doesn’t make it much of a silver lining).
As the study specifically looked at the early days of the pandemic, Dr. Jian Li—a co-author of the study who also works with the Fielding School’s Center for Occupational and Environmental Health—says more research is necessary to determine whether these bad habits “persisted as the pandemic continued, and whether individual’s quality of life and health well-being are subsequently affected.”
According to Deadline, Li concluded that “it is clear that resources and support that can help people maintain healthy lifestyles, during the pandemic and afterwards, are urgently needed.”