French Waistlines Expand Under Virus Lockdown: Poll

A statue wears a mask along Trocadero square close to the Eiffel Tower in Paris on Monday. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)

PARIS (AFP) — French women don’t get fat, according to one bestselling book. But the nation which likes to look after its figure has piled on the pounds during the coronavirus lockdown, a survey showed Wednesday.

More than half of French people, 57% in total, got fatter since confinement began on March 17, according to an Ifop poll, with many working from home and some not at all, and outdoors exercise strictly limited.

On average, the French gained 5.5 pounds each due to the imposed sedentary lifestyle and a steep rise in a practice generally frowned upon in France: snacking between meals.

With more time on their hands given the lack of a daily commute, 42% of respondents reported that pre-dinner cocktail snacks have become a more of a feature in their daily routine.

Women were more likely to put on weight (58% compared to 56% of men), but gained less than their male counterparts on average — 5 vs 6 pounds, said the poll conducted among a nationally-representative sample of 3,045 people aged 18 and older.

Unemployed people and married couples with children were more affected by the broadening trend.

The poll also found that 42% of couples argued about cooking — hardly surprising given that 71% of women living with a partner said they tasked with preparing the majority of meals.

Though 56% polled said they intended to eat healthier once things go back go normal, fewer than 1 in 5 thought they needed a full-on diet.

And it’s not just waistlines that are increasing. 

Last month, viewership data taken over a one-week period revealed that French people in lockdown spent nearly five hours per day in front of the television on average — an hour and 17 minutes per day more than a year earlier.

Another Ifop poll Tuesday said 44% of French people reported having had no sex in the last four weeks, compared to 26% before lockdown.

© Agence France-Presse

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