New research has found that seven in ten (76%) of adults in the South West have made the decision to make changes to their lifestyle in 2021, with 67% saying that they are motivated due to COVID-19.
Compared to last year, almost half of people (40%) feel more motivated to make changes to their life in January.
Eating more healthily (35%), losing weight (38%) and exercising more (44%) were at the top of the list of changes.
Evidence has shown that being obese significantly increases your chance of being admitted to intensive care with COVID-19, compared to those with a healthy BMI.
To support adults in the South West make these changes, Public Health England has launched its latest Better Health new year campaign to encourage residents to work towards a healthier lifestyle, whether it’s losing weight, getting more active, looking after their mental wellbeing, or quitting smoking.
The campaign offers support through a variety of tools and apps, including the updated NHS 12 Week Weight Loss app. This comes as currently 28% of adults in England are living with obesity and 36% are overweight.
The survey revealed that 2020 and the impact of the pandemic saw behaviours in the South West change, including:
- A quarter of people (26%) reported snacking on unhealthy food and drinks at least once a day
- A third (32%) said they were exercising less in the latter half of the year
- 11% claimed that their alcohol intake has increased since the start of the second national lockdown.1
Tracy Daszkiewicz, Deputy Director of Population Health and Wellbeing at Public Health England South West said: “The past year has been immensely challenging and being stuck at home much more has understandably seen some unhealthy habits creeping up on us all.
“But our survey shows the vast majority of us want to do something positive in 2021 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.
“All these are changes that will help us feel better about ourselves – just search ‘NHS Better Health’ for our free tools and advice.”
Public Health Minister Jo Churchill, said: “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.
“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.”
The Better Health campaign provides a wide range of free NHS tools and advice to support healthier habits, including suggestions on how to increase physical activity, make healthier food choices, lose weight, improve mental health and quit smoking.
The campaign targets all adults over 18, with a focus on those aged 40 – 60. There will be a particular emphasis on those groups who are most affected, including those from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic communities and those with long-term health conditions.
Search ‘Better Health’ or visit www.nhs.uk/betterhealth for free tools and support to help you make healthy changes.