Summer health drive in England as 40% say they gained weight in lockdown

A drive to get people fit and healthy this summer has been launched by Public Health England (PHE), as research found more than 40 per cent of adults put on weight during lockdown.

The latest Better Health campaign, the third iteration, includes the updated NHS Weight Loss Plan, an app to help reduce alcohol consumption and measure BMI.

The launch comes as a nationwide survey of more than 5,000 adults in England on behalf of PHE found 41% said they had put on weight since the first lockdown in March 2020.

Those who said they had put on weight gained an average of nearly half a stone (4.1kg), and 21% reported putting on a stone or more.

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

For 46% of those who reported weight gain, snacking and comfort eating were the main culprits.

Of those who gained weight since March 2020, 89% said it was important for them to introduce new healthier habits this summer. Nearly half said they wanted to have a healthier diet and 57% welcomed additional advice on eating more healthily, ideas for doing this on a budget and exercise routines.

Dr Alison Tedstone, PHE’s chief nutritionist, 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 is also working with local authorities to provide weight management support for people.

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

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

“Our new Office for Health Promotion is going to keep building on the success of this campaign, helping people to make lifestyle choices that improves both their mental and physical health.”

As part of the campaign, the actor Linda Robson has spoken about her experience of gaining more than a stone during lockdown and how she is using healthy eating to lose weight.

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