'Quarantine 15:' New study involves couples' experience with pandemic weight gain

Physicians are concerned about the potential consequences of pandemic weight gain.

Obesity and diabetes can increase the risk of COVID-19 complications. If you are trying to shed a few pounds, a new study may be able to help.

Some call it the "Quarantine 15" -- the pandemic disrupting daily routines, causing people to gain weight.

"They are finding it hard to get regular physical activity and to eat healthy," said Corrine Voils, a professor of surgery at the UW School of Medicine and Public Health.

Voils said the school began a new study, called Partner2Lose.
"We are really interested in the question of whether involving a domestic partner in their weight loss efforts can increase their weight loss," Voils said.

Couples are arranged into two groups. One group participates in a weight loss plan by themselves, the other participates in a plan with their partners.  
"What we are doing is having the couple participate in communication skills, having engaged in joint problem solving, share their thoughts and feeling with each other about their health behavior and see if that results in better weight loss," said VOils.

Now out of their rut, Nazan Gillie and Cameron Gillie took part in the study hoping to make a change. Together, they posted nearly 15 pounds by increasing activity and curbing cravings.

Nazan Gillie and Cameron Gillie

A mix of virtual meetings and phone calls could now be the new normal in keeping fit.

"We are finding that a lot of people are just excited about this, they feel glad to have the study to keep them accountable," Voils said. "We hope that people losing weight, it will ultimately improve their long-term outcomes and also reduce their risk of negative outcomes from COVID."
Researchers hope to enroll about 230 couples in the study. If you would like to join, CLICK HERE.