Public Health England (PHE) has launched the latest ‘Better Health’ campaign to encourage adults across the nation to lose excess weight, eat more healthily and get active this summer.
The new campaign offers free evidence-based support and guidance to those working towards a healthier weight. There are a variety of NHS endorsed apps which will help people to introduce changes that will help them eat better and get active this summer, including the newly updated NHS Weight Loss Plan app.
New research, due to be published shortly by Public Health England, suggests that those who used and followed the NHS Weight Loss Plan app over 12 weeks, reported a loss on average of almost a stone (5.8kg). The move follows a nationwide survey of over 5,000 adults which has revealed that over four in ten (41 per cent) in West Midlands say they have put on weight since the first lockdown in March 2020.
Almost 9.5lb (4.3 kg) was gained on average by adults who put on weight, with one in five (19 per cent) reporting putting on a stone or more (6.1kg-9kg). In adults aged 35-65 years old, the average weight gain rises to over 10lbs (4.6kg) nationally.
The new insights show the extent that lockdowns have impacted people’s eating and physical activity habits. Unhealthy eating habits, like snacking and comfort eating, were seen as the main contributor to weight gain during the pandemic for almost half (44 per cent) of those who reported gaining weight.
A high proportion (89 per cent) of adults in the West Midlands who said they gained weight since March 2020 said it was important for them to introduce new healthy habits this summer, with more than half (54 per cent) saying they would like to have a healthier diet1. Half (51 per cent), feel optimistic about making the changes they desire, and a majority (59 per cent) would welcome more advice on eating more healthily, 57 per cent would like ideas for doing so on a budget and 55 per cent want ideas for exercise routines.
Public Health Minister Jo Churchill said: “The pandemic has been hugely challenging for everyone and it has upended our daily routines. As we build back better in the months ahead, we want to make it easier for people to adopt a healthier lifestyle that works for them.
“The brilliant Better Health campaign returns today and provides a wide range of tools – including an easy to use phone app - to support people, whether that’s losing weight, sharing healthier recipes or motivating people to be more active. 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.”
David Elliott, West Midlands Health & Wellbeing Programme Manager for Healthy Weight said: "With four in ten people in the West Midlands putting on weight and a fifth putting on a stone or more since the start of lockdown, the impact on people’s eating and physical activity habits has been considerable.
"We also know that many people in the region are looking for advice and help that works for them to eat more healthily and be more active. PHE’s Better Health has a proven range of tools and resources that offer free support and guidance to help them do just that."
As part of the campaign, Linda Robson, has talked about her experience with weight gain and unhealthy habits over lockdown. Having gained some weight since the start of the pandemic, Linda is looking to eat more healthily with the help of the Better Health apps.
TV presenter and actress, Linda Robson, said: “I can definitely relate to having slipped a bit during lockdowns - in fact I actually gained over a stone myself! People shouldn’t feel guilty for having put on weight, especially after the year we’ve had – we've all had to just try and get through it the best we can.
“However, this summer I want to get my health on track and look to lose some weight. I know it can feel hard, but the Better Health apps are a great place to start, I’ve started eating some of the Better Health recipes – they are dead easy to do and taste great!”
Better Health is also working in partnership with a number of weight management and physical activity partners who are providing both free and exclusive discounted offers. Public Health England is also working with local authorities to provide weight management support to those who need it.
The upcoming launch of the new Office for Health Promotion in Autumn 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. Search ‘Better Health’ or visit nhs.uk/betterhealth for free tools and support to start leading a healthier lifestyle today.