Nearly half of all adults in England have gained weight during the pandemic, the results of a new survey suggest. The average weight gain is just over 3kg. Most respondents attribute their weight gain to snacking and comfort eating.

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A new survey by Public Health England (PHE) of 5,000 adults suggests that 40% of all adults in England have gained weight during the pandemic, with the average gain being just over 3kg. PHE is now recommending a ‘summer health drive’ to help people lose this excess weight.

Previously we reported on a shocking American survey which suggested that 48% of millennials had gained a whopping 41lb in 2020 due to the pandemic. Millennials were the worst affected demographic by far.

The pandemic has brought serious changes to most people’s lives, with many working and eating at home in a way they had never done before. Restricted access to almost all exercise facilities has thrown most people back on their own initiative to find means of exercise. Since the beginning of the crisis, experts have been warning that prolonged social-distancing measures would make obesity worse, and studies have shown significant drops in physical activity levels, especially among men and children.

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As part of the survey, respondents were encouraged to give reasons for why they had gained weight. Snacking and comfort eating were given as the main reasons. 

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A particular problem seems to be the increasing reliance of many people on takeaway food. Recent research from the Institute for Fiscal Studies, using data on millions of food and non-alcoholic drink purchases, found a significant increase in calories from takeaways, which peaked at more than double the normal levels in the UK’s second national lockdown in November 2020.

Did you know that eating out regularly is associated with an increased risk of early death? A new study in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics suggests that frequent consumption of food prepared outside the home may not be a healthy habit. 

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