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More Than 40% Adults Gain Weight During Pandemic, PHE Launches Health Drive

The Better Health campaign comes after a nationwide survey of more than 5,000 adults in England on behalf of PHE found 41% had put on weight since the first lockdown in March 2020

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Divya Dhadd
Divya Dhadd
Journalist

UNITED KINGDOM: More than 40% of adults in England have gained weight during the pandemic, with the average gain being half a stone (4.1 kg), a survey suggests.

Public Health England (PHE), which surveyed 5,000 people, says with Covid lockdowns making daily routines go haywire, it has become challenging for people to eat healthy and keep fit. As many as 41% said they have put on weight since the first lockdown in March 2020.

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The outcome of the research is the Better Health campaign, launched by PHE, a drive to make England fit and healthy this summer.

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The campaign offers free access to advice on how to lose excess weight and become active using a 12-week plan. It also incorporates the updated National Health Service (NHS) Weight Loss Plan, an app to help reduce alcohol intake and measure BMI.

Those who said they had put on weight gained an average of nearly half a stone, and 21% reported putting on a stone or more.

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In 35 to 65-year-olds, the average weight gain was more than 10lbs (4.6kg).

However, of those who gained weight since March 2020, a massive percent of the population welcomed the idea of adopting healthier habits with additional advice for doing it on a budget with exercise routines. 

PHE’s drive to improve England’s health  

According to the Better Health campaign, gaining weight is often a gradual process and as a result of “modern-day life and the odd unhealthy habit,” has been happening over the years.

But it becomes a matter of concern when apart from the visible weight gain, fat builds up around vital organs, making it harder for the body to fight against diseases like cancer, heart disease and Covid.

The campaign recommends that simple changes to diet and lifestyle can help shed excess pounds. 

PHE chief nutritionist Dr Alison Tedstone said: “The past 16 months have caused many to change their habits, so it is not a surprise to see so many people reporting weight gain.

“We know how hard it can be to lose weight and keep it off – so, we are providing a range of support options to help motivate people and help them maintain a healthy weight.”

PHE says the autumn launch of the new Office for Health Promotion by continuing to support people living with obesity, supporting mental health and promoting physical activity, will “level up the health of the nation.”

The public health minister, Jo Churchill, said: “We want to make it easier for people to adopt a healthier lifestyle that works for them.”

PHE’s campaign has also partnered with local authorities to provide weight management support for people.

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