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Public healthJan 4, 2021

Public Health England unveils healthy lifestyle campaign for 2021

Public Health England (PHE) has launched a campaign to help adults develop healthier habits during the coming year.

Called Better Health new year, the campaign offers support through tools and apps, such as the updated NHS 12 Week Weight Loss app.


Photo Credit: Shutterstock
Many people say they want to eat more healthily in the coming year


According to PHE, 28 per cent of adults in England are obese and 36 per cent are overweight. Evidence shows that being obese increases someone’s chance of being admitted to intensive care with Covid-19, compared to those with a healthy body mass index.

Unveiling the results of a survey conducted in England among more than 5,000 adults since the Covid-19 pandemic began, PHE said almost half (43 per cent) felt more motivated to make changes to their life than they did in the previous January.

Overall, seven in 10 (68 per cent) said they were motivated to make healthier lifestyle changes as a result of the coronavirus.

Snack attacks

But a third said they were snacking on unhealthy foods and drinks at least once daily (35 per cent), while a similar proportion of smokers (29 per cent) smoked more since the second national lockdown. Of those who drank alcohol, 23 per cent said they were consuming more.

For those aged from 40 to 60 years, eating more healthily (40 per cent), losing weight (39 per cent) and exercising more (41 per cent) topped of the list of changes they envisaged.

In addition, four regular smokers in 10 (43 per cent) say they plan to try to stop in 2021 and nearly half of those who increased their alcohol intake during the second lockdown (45 per cent) intend to reduce their alcohol intake this year.

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 [Alison Tedstone, PHE]Expert views

Alison Tedstone, PHE’s chief nutritionist, said: ‘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.

Dr Tedstone added: ‘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.

Dawn Harper, who is supporting the campaign, comments: ‘The impact that Covid-19 has had on our physical health and mental wellbeing is huge. We saw households across England revert to unhealthy eating habits and reducing the amount of exercise they undertook.

Dr Harper added: ‘However, 2020 has also caused us to feel more motivated to make lasting changes in the new year.’

Emphasis on groups that are affected the most

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 includes national TV, radio and social advertising. Alongside the advertising campaign, PHE released a film featuring people discussing their health journeys in 2020 and their motivations for the new year.

There is a particular emphasis on groups who are most affected, such those from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic communities and those with long-term health conditions.

Weight management partners: Slimming World, MAN v FAT, GetSlim, Second Nature, WW – Weight Watchers Reimagined and EFL Fit Fans

Physical activity partners: Our Parks, Sport England, Instructor Live, Activity Alliance, Everyone Active, Better Leisure Centres, PureGym and Her Spirit

For more information, search ‘Better Health’ or visit: nhs.uk/betterhealth for free tools and support options

The Better Health capaign film is available here: www.youtube.com/watch?v=wGK-EVbD8B8&feature=youtu.be


Author: Ian A McMillan
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