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Survey: Half of the UAE population is snacking more and gained weight during the pandemic

Tue 20 Jul 2021    
| 2 min read

We eat when we’re stressed and upset. We eat when we’re happy and celebrating. And sometimes we eat out of sheer boredom. But the thing is, there’s a difference between true physical hunger and emotional hunger. Physical hunger is gradual and tied to the last time you ate. While emotional hunger is triggered by things such as stress, worry, or fatigue.

And with this in mind, as cited in the Allurion 2021 survey with YouGov, the pandemic has had a direct impact on weight for half the UAE population, either by leading to concerns or a weight gain. Furthermore, weight is the second personal aspect about which UAE residents are less happy, just behind their financial situation. For example, it creates more concerns than one’s own job and personal relationships and only worries about one’s own and loved ones’ health have caused more stress.

Emotional hunger is your body’s way of telling you that you need comfort or something soothing and this is affecting whole communities across the UAE. Besides keeping in contact with family and friends (video calls and phone calls), one of the most increased activities during the pandemic was snacking, with 53% of the UAE residents snacking more frequently between meals than they used to do before the pandemic. Interestingly, besides being less physically active, the main cause of weight gain in the UAE was indeed snacking, AKA comfort eating. And unfortunately, the result is now 47% of UAE residents eat more than they used to do before the pandemic. And as we enter halfway through the year half (51%) of the UAE population states to have gained weight during the pandemic with a significant increase of 8.0 Kg.

Cynthia Bou Khalil, Nutritional Consultant, and Clinical Manager Excellence, Allurion, the company that commissioned the research said that with weight gain and stress going hand in hand, there is a need for immediate action and a world-first device by Allurion are addressing this much-needed change. No weight loss program is a magic bullet and an effective program is based on good healthcare and science. With this in mind, our program takes a holistic approach to lose weight and more importantly, reducing the risk of having diseases attributed to being overweight or obese, including, cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, and polycystic ovary syndrome to name but a few. For more information, readers can visit

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