Booze, binge eating and lack of exercise hit mental health in lockdown says Oxford study

Younger adults were disproportionately suffering from the rise in negative mental health.

Poor nutrition and less physical activity during lockdown, had a serious impact on mental health in England according to the preliminary findings of an Oxford Uni study.

The survey from the Unit for Biocultural Variation and Obesity gathered data from more than 800 adults in England aged between 18 and 81. They took the survey online between 19th June and 6th July, answering questions about mental health, eating and physical activity before and during lockdown.  

They found a stark rise in negative mental health since the start of the lockdown measures as well as a decreased in physical activity with 46% of participants are less active. They also found an increase in binge eating and consumption of processed snacks and alcohol.

Stanley Ulijaszek, Professor of Human Ecology and UBVO Director, says, ‘COVID-19 lockdown has resulted in increased levels of anxiety, poor sleep, persistent sadness, binge eating, suicidal thoughts, snacking, consumption of alcohol and reduced levels of physical activity.’

Professor Ulijaszek maintains, ‘These changes have potential long-term consequences for obesity rates and chronic disease more broadly.’

It is feared that much of the work carried out on controlling the rates of increase in childhood obesity in England may be undone by COVID-19.

The survey is open until the end of the week and can be taken at www.oxfordobesity.org/covid19.

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