Many of us have piled on the pounds during lockdown, while being (often) more sedentary and doing a bit of (understandable) comfort eating. It was definitely obvious the last time I was on Bude’s beaches on a sunny day, that weight gain has been a widespread issue.
So, on Monday 26th July, Public Health England launched the latest Better Health campaign, to encourage adults across the nation to lose any excess weight, eat more healthily and get active this summer. What also needs addressing, in my view, is accurate and helpful labelling on food, and for food sellers to think about what they are offering to people.
But we have to take responsibility for ourselves, so the new campaign offers free evidence-based support and guidance to those working towards a healthier weight.
There are a variety of NHS endorsed apps which will help people to introduce changes that will help them eat better and get active this summer, including the newly updated NHS Weight Loss Plan app.
New research, due to be published shortly by Public Health England, suggests that those who used and followed the NHS Weight Loss Plan app over 12 weeks, reported a loss on average of almost a stone (5.8kg).
The move follows a nationwide survey of over 5,000 adults has revealed that over 4 in 10 (41%) adults in England say they have put on weight since the first lockdown in March 2020. Almost over half a stone (4.1kg) was gained on average by those who put on weight, with 1 in 5 (21%) reporting putting on a stone or more (6.1kg-9kg).
In adults aged 35-65 years old, the average weight gain for those who put on weight rises to over 10lbs (4.6kg) nationally.
The new insights show the extent that lockdowns have impacted people’s eating and physical activity habits. Unhealthy eating habits, like snacking and comfort eating, were reported as the main contributor to weight gain during the pandemic for nearly half (46%) of those who reported gaining weight.
A high proportion (89%) of adults who said they gained weight since March 2020 said it was important for them to introduce new healthy habits this summer, with nearly half (49%) saying they would like to have a healthier diet.
Half of adults (53%) feel optimistic about making the changes they desire, and a majority (57%) would welcome more advice on eating more healthily, ideas for doing so on a budget, and ideas for exercise routines.
Better Health is also working in partnership with a number of weight management and physical activity partners who are providing both free and exclusive discounted offers. Search ‘Better Health’ or visit nhs.uk/BetterHealth for free tools and support to start leading a healthier lifestyle today