More than a quarter eating less healthily during lockdown

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More than a quarter of people say they have been eating less healthily during the weeks of lockdown, with stress, tiredness and anxiety often acting as key triggers for reaching for snacks and less healthy foods, according to a new poll.

In a YouGov survey of more than 2,000 people, commissioned by the British Nutrition Foundation, 27% admitted they were eating less healthily than they had been before the pandemic, compared with 22% who felt their diet had actually become healthier.

Almost half (48%) of individuals did not feel “motivated” enough to eat well, something that was potentially putting their health at risk.

Boredom (63%) was the main reason why people were eating more unhealthy food, while 30% said not being able to go to the supermarket often had made it difficult for them to eat well.

Sara Stanner, science director at the BNF, said: “While the coronavirus outbreak has brought the importance of health to the forefront, the measures we’ve had to take as a nation to control the spread of the virus have made it challenging for many of us to eat well and keep active.”

One third (32%) of those polled said they were spending more time sitting down than before the lockdown, while 29% admitted to being less active than usual.

More positively, many were keen to reverse these habits as lockdown restrictions were eased with 47% saying they wanted to become more active and exercise more, 43% saying they wanted to lose weight and 29% planning to eat more healthily.

“With lots of us still at home more than normal, it’s easy to spend a lot of time sitting and to feel less motivated to eat healthily,” said Stanner.

“It’s encouraging that, despite this, many people are now going for regular walks to keep active, are taking time to plan what they eat, and are trying new recipes. People are also clearly looking to improve their health as the lockdown measures ease, with getting active, losing weight and eating healthily all cited as key priorities,” she added.

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