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Nation’s Concerns about Health, Wellbeing and Food in Run up to Christmas Revealed in BNF Survey

Results of research conducted by YouGov on behalf of the British Nutrition Foundation (BNF) reveal that 1 in 6 people across Britain are worried about not being able to find all the food they need in supermarkets this Christmas. Seventeen per cent of all GB adults say they are concerned about not being able to find all the food they need, and 18% say they are anxious about getting online deliveries.

The survey of 2,002 adults across Britain explores the nation’s attitudes to health, wellbeing and food in the run up to Christmas and the New Year amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

When asked about diet and fitness concerns, over half (52%) of females across Britain state they are worried about weight gain during the Christmas period along with over a third (39%) of males. Almost half (46%) of 18-34-year olds say they are worried about eating too many unhealthy snacks and 23% of the same age group are concerned about eating too many takeaways.

Becoming more active, losing weight and eating more healthily overall are what the majority of people will be prioritising in the New Year when it comes to health and wellbeing (49%, 45% and 38% respectively). Twenty-one per cent of those aged 18-34 say that eating more sustainably is a priority in the New Year, compared to 16% of respondents overall.

Sara Stanner, the BNF’s Science Director, said: “The COVID-19 pandemic has had a huge impact on many aspects of our lives, especially finances, health and wellbeing and many people cited concerns about their weight, diet and activity over the Christmas period. However, it’s heartening to see many positive priorities for the New Year, with getting more active coming out on top. Different aspects of healthy eating are also high on people’s list of priorities, including eating well to support immunity.”

Thirty-one per cent of Brits surveyed by the BNF cited eating more fruit and vegetables as a priority for the New Year, along with 26% who cited eating foods to keep their immune system healthy.

Stanner commented: “We’ve seen a lot of misleading information about nutrition and immunity this year – there’s no magic bullet in the diet that can prevent us from getting COVID-19. But, there are many nutrients that support our immune system to work normally and a healthy diet, alongside vitamin D supplements in the winter months, can provide us with all the vitamins and minerals we need for good health.”

The survey also looks at what people are considering preparing for their Christmas meals this year. While over half (54%) of respondents are not planning anything different to previous years, 31% are planning alternatives, including opting for different meats or plant-based meals.

Respondents were also asked if they might need to prepare alternative options for family and friends for the Christmas meal. 1 in 5 (20%) said they will need to provide a vegetarian option, 9% will need to provide a vegan option and 11% and 12% respectively will need to provide an option for someone with a food allergy, or a particular dislike.

Stanner added: “We are aware of the growing popularity of plant-based diets due to environmental and health concerns and it’s interesting to see that, while more than half of those surveyed are sticking to their traditional Christmas dinner, a significant proportion of people are planning something different as well as many needing to cater for friends or family with different dietary requirements.”

Note: The research has been conducted by YouGov on behalf of the British Nutrition Foundation. 2,002 adults from across Britain were surveyed between 20 – 23 November 2020. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+).

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