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Almost a third of people in Swansea Bay have put on weight since the start of the pandemic

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plump woman in sportswear with measuring tape

Almost a third (32 percent) of people in Swansea Bay University Health Board area have put on weight since the start of the pandemic, with 15 percent tipping the scales by an extra 8kg.

As part of its Help Us Help You campaign, the Welsh Government is keen to highlight that leading a healthier lifestyle means you are more likely to live longer and less likely to develop serious illnesses and health conditions.  

Over a third of Swansea Bay adults polled (38 percent) say they are generally less healthy now than they were before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. The overall figure across Wales of those who have gained weight is 30 percent.

With the impact that COVID-19 and the resulting lockdowns has had on the public’s physical health, particularly in relation to weight, diet and exercise, beginning to surface, health professionals are urging people in Swansea to seek the appropriate help in order to get their weight back under control and to get their fitness back on track. This includes using the resources available for help with weight loss and maintaining a healthy diet from the NHS 111 Wales Living Well website as well as help available via the local health board.

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However, the news isn’t entirely negative. Many people have used the lockdowns or furlough time to up their exercise. 25 percent of people have been doing more exercise this year and have noticed the positive impact it has had on their weight. More than a third (36 percent) have enjoyed doing more exercise this year and half of Welsh adults say they have made an effort to eat more healthily this year, with 43 percent being at home more, allowing them to spend more time cooking and eating healthily.

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People who lead a healthier lifestyle are more likely to live longer and less likely to develop serious illnesses and health conditions.  There are a number of simple and easy-to-achieve lifestyle choices that can improve health and wellbeing including being active and eating well. Regular exercise has proven health benefits for anyone who wants to maintain a healthy lifestyle, improve their fitness level, and support their mental well-being. 

It is important to note that doing exercise doesn’t just include sport. Gardening or walking provide a great source of physical activity. Physical activity also produces endorphins which make you feel good and can help to improve mental health. To eat a balanced diet, it is important to aim to cut down on foods that are high in fat and sugar, limit alcohol intake alcohol intake and to get five portions of fruit and veg a day.

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Beca Lyne-Pirkis, Healthy Weight Cymru ambassador, said: “It’s not always easy to exercise regularly and eat healthily, and many have found recent lockdowns especially tricky. But even small changes can make a big difference to your health and can make you feel better too. There is lots of information and advice on how to take more exercise, eat better and improve your wellbeing on the NHS 111 Wales Living Well website.”

The way people in Swansea access NHS services has changed but services are still available, including support with healthy living programmes. So, people who have picked up bad habits during the pandemic are urged to make NHS 111 Wales Living Well website their first port of call, and for advice on how to take the first steps towards a healthier diet they should visit Healthy Weight Cymru on Facebook or Twitter.

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