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COVID-19: 80% motivated to improve health due to pandemic

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More people have committed to exercise More people have committed to exercise

Around 80% of people aged over 18 have made the decision to change their lifestyle in 2021, a survey released by Public Health England has found.

The survey showed 8 in 10 adults aged over 18 have decided to modify their lifestyle in 2021, with 7 in 10 adults saying that they are motivated to make healthier lifestyle changes due to COVID-19. Compared to last year, almost half of the population (43%) feel more motivated to make changes to their life in January. Around 6 million adults aged 40 to 60 plan to: eat more healthily (40%); lose weight (39%); and exercise more (41%).

Read more: COVID-19: ‘Landmark moment’ as first NHS patient receives vaccination

‘The past year has been immensely challenging and being stuck at home much more this year, understandably, has seen some unhealthy habits creeping up on us all. But our survey shows the vast majority of us want to do something positive this year to improve our health and now is a good time for a reset, whether it be eating more healthily, being a healthier weight, getting more active, stopping smoking or doing more to look after our mental health,’ said Dr Alison Tedstone, Chief Nutritionist at PHE.

‘All these are changes that will help us feel better about ourselves – just search ‘NHS Better Health’ for our free tools and advice.’

The survey also revealed how the pandemic has changed people’s habits, with 23% of drinkers (at least 1 unit a week) claimed that their alcohol intake has increased since the second lockdown, 29% of smokers agreed they smoked more since the second national lockdown, and one-third of people reported snacking on unhealthy food and drinks at least once a day (35%) – up from 26% this time last year.

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‘There is no doubt 2020 has been a challenging year for everyone. The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted particularly the impact obesity can have on some people’s health and health outcomes,’ said Public Health Minister Jo Churchill.

‘We know many people want to make changes for a healthier lifestyle and we want to help them. So the Better Health campaign provides a range of tools, like Couch to 5K, to support people in their choices. This, together with the government’s world-leading obesity strategy, will help motivate and support everyone to take up healthier routines in 2021.’

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