Study: People are drinking more alcohol, smoking more cigarettes, while exercising less and eating less healthily

New research announced today shows that despite the fact that people in the UK are optimistic and plan to be more health conscious following the pandemic (36%), we are drinking more alcohol and smoking more, while exercising less and eating less healthily.

The Toluna and Harris Interactive COVID-19 Barometer, which surveyed 1,063 people in the UK, found:

  • 33% of people surveyed in the UK are exercising less,
  • 22% are drinking more alcohol, an increase of 10% since wave 1 of the survey in March 2020 (the highest from the surveyed countries in Europe),
  • 22% are eating less healthy (a 3% increase since March 2020),
  • 12% are smoking more cigarettes, an increase of 4% since March 2020.

Toluna analysis:

The lockdown has given many of us the opportunity to take more exercise and lose those extra pounds, but the truth is that stress levels are increasing, understandably so, with over 1 in 5 of us drinking more alcohol, over 1 in 10 smoking more, 1 in 3 exercising less and over 1 in 5 eating less healthily in the UK. The impacts of the lockdown are not just felt in the victims and families of the pandemic itself and the severe global economic downturn, but also in how we’re living our everyday lives, often it appears detrimentally. While many of us are drinking more and exercising less, at least the majority of us are taking time to read more. Around 3 in 4 of us are taking time to read old fashioned printed books, with spikes seen also for eBooks, audiobooks and podcasts. So, it looks like the majority of us are exercising our minds at least.  Brands may want to evaluate their media plans given the spikes in audio.”

Steve Evans, Sector Head, Technology, Media, Telecoms and Entertainment, Toluna and Harris Interactive

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