Warning from Obesity Action Scotland after survey reveals rise in unhealthy eating.
More than half of Scots are eating more during the lockdown out of boredom, campaigners have warned.
A survey for Obesity Action Scotland (OAS) revealed that 54% of people in Scotland are consuming more food than they did before the pandemic control measures were brought in at the end of March.
Around half (49%) said they were eating more cakes and biscuits than before, 47% admitted to eating more sweets and confectionery and 38% said they were turning to savoury snacks such as crisps or nuts. Meanwhile, a third (34%) of people have seen their alcohol consumption rise during the lockdown.
Overall, 35% of those surveyed said their diet had worsened in the past weeks, and 63% said they were concerned about their body weight. Just 22% thought their diet had got better since the beginning of lockdown.
The survey did reveal some positives, with 43% of Scots saying they were cooking from home more often, 44% eating fewer takeaways, and 29% saying they were consuming more fruit and vegetables. However, the negative impacts of extra snacking were said to outweigh these benefits.
OAS is now calling on the Scottish Government to enshrine healthy eating policies in its coronavirus response and recovery plans to avoid more people becoming dangerously overweight.
Lorraine Tulloch, OAS programme lead, said: “The measures necessary to respond to this pandemic were always going to have an impact on our day to day life. The impact this polling demonstrates it has had on our diet needs to be addressed as we move forward. We must harness the positive changes that have allowed us to find more time and value for food whilst addressing the negative consequences of an increased intake of sugary snacks.
“We need to redouble our efforts to improve the diet of the people of Scotland and ensure everyone has access to affordable healthy food. Actions to achieve healthy weight need to be central to the Scottish Government’s recovery plans.”
Mark Diffley, director of polling company MDCR, added: “Our new polling adds significant evidence to the impact that the pandemic is having on life in Scotland, highlighting how our eating, cooking and lifestyle choices continue to change in response to the restrictions placed on our lives.
“The survey reveals that most Scots (56%) are spending more on food since the pandemic began, compared to 17% spending less, and that the driver for additional consumption may be the restrictions caused by the pandemic, with 54% saying that they are eating more out of boredom.
“Although this extra eating and drinking spans both healthy and unhealthy choices, it is clear that more people think their diet has got worse since the pandemic started than got better.”