To examine whether the incidence of health problems increases during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Using the health examination data (April 2018 – March 2021) of Japanese workers aged 15-64 years, the one-year incidence of 5 health problems (overweight, hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, hyperglycemia, and liver damage) and 4 unhealthy habits (snacking, heavy drinking, physical inactivity, and sleep deprivation) were compared before and during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The one-year incidence of overweight, hypertension, hyperglycemia, and liver damage increased by 15-65% during the COVID-19 pandemic. Increased weight gain, related to decreased physical activity during the COVID-19 pandemic, was significantly associated with increased incidence of health problems.
The COVID-19 pandemic have deteriorated workers’ health even without the COVID-19 infection. Lifestyle interventions should be promptly started particularly targeting workers with gained weight to avoid more serious consequences.

Copyright © 2022 by the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine.