Nearly half of adults in England have arrived since the start of the pandemic.
The average weight gained since March last year was half a stone, according to the survey of 5,000 adults by Public Health England.
Restrictions imposed during the first lockdown last March encouraged people to stay at home, barring essential reasons such as exercising once a day.
Vulnerable people were told to isolate most of the pandemic, and gyms were also repeatedly closed during several waves of the crisis.
PHE said lockdowns had led to an increase in unhealthy habits such as snacking and comfort food, probably due to boredom or worry.
Overall, those who gained weight gained an average of 4.1kg, but one in five picked up a stone or more.
And in those between the ages of 35 and 65, the average weight gain rose to 10 lbs (4.6 kg).
While the lockdowns curbed the spread of Covid, PHE said they were negatively impacting the general health of the nations.
A survey by Public Health England found that 41 percent of Britons gained weight during the lockdown, with an average gain of half a stone. But 21 percent of those who have gained weight have gained a stone or more since March last year
PHE encourages people to eat better and get active in an effort to shed some pounds
England’s third national lockdown has sparked ‘unprecedented’ mental health crisis, experts warn
Britain’s third lockdown has sparked an ‘unprecedented crisis’ in mental health, top experts warned.
Charities and politicians urged No10 to provide much-needed funding to support the services and ensure that all patients are treated.
Mind warned during the second wave that the pandemic support page has seen the highest number of visitors since April – when the country was gripped by the first wave.
And former health minister Jeremy Hunt warned there is a “real risk” that self-isolation will become “a tipping point leading to an epidemic of serious mental illness.”
Experts argue that the mental health crisis has been fueled by the huge death toll in the UK, massive unemployment caused by the lockdowns and the social effects of staying at home.
Leading psychiatrist Dr. Adrian James warned in December that Covid could deliver the biggest blow to the Briton’s mental well-being since World War II.
And the Office for National Statistics (ONS) revealed in August that about one in five Britons had moderate or severe depressive symptoms in June 2020, almost double the level recorded at the same time last year.
The survey – to be published in full in two weeks – shows that 89 percent of people who have gained weight since March want to adopt healthier habits.
The findings prompted PHE to relaunch a campaign to support people in achieving a healthier weight called Better Health.
Jo Churchill, the health minister, said: ‘The pandemic has been a huge challenge for everyone and has turned our daily routines upside down.
“As we build better in the coming months, we want to make it easier for people to adopt a healthier lifestyle that suits them.
“The brilliant Better Health campaign returns today, offering a wide range of tools – including an easy-to-use phone app – to support people, whether that’s losing weight, sharing healthier recipes or motivating people to be more active.”
People in the study who used the NHS Weight Loss Plan app for 12 weeks lost just under a stone (5.8kg) on average.
Researchers found that about six in 10 people want more advice about eating better, as well as ideas for exercise routines.
dr. Alison Tedstone, chief nutritionist at PHE, said it’s not surprising that people have reported weight gain as the pandemic has forced people to change their routine.
She said: ‘We know how difficult it can be to lose and maintain weight – that’s why we offer a range of support options to motivate people and help them maintain a healthy weight. It’s never too late to make changes to improve your health.
“Visit the Better Health website for ideas and support that’s right for you and you can seek support from your local weight management service.”
A Weight Watchers survey last summer found that half of Britons gained weight during the first lockdown, with chocolate and biscuits as a snack.
Linda Robson, a TV presenter and actress, said: ‘I can certainly agree that I’ve slipped a bit during lockdowns – I’ve even won a stone!
“People shouldn’t feel guilty for gaining weight, especially after the year we’ve had — we’ve all had to try to get through it as best we can.
“However, this summer I want to get my health back on track and try to lose weight. I know it can feel difficult, but the Better Health apps are a great place to start, I started eating some of the Better Health recipes – they’re dead easy to do and taste great!’
A previous study found that the body mass index (BMI) of 80,000 women was 27.1 in January 2020. BMI shows whether someone has a healthy size, based on height and weight.
But a second study of 163,000 women by the same researchers a year later found that the average BMI rose to 28.4 — the equivalent of gaining more than half a stone.
In addition, earlier this year, researchers found that 64 percent of Britons tried to lose weight before the original “Freedom Day” deadline of June 21.
Being overweight has also been linked to a higher risk of more severe Covid.
A study by Oxford scientists found that for every BMI point over 23, a person is 5 percent more likely to be hospitalized.
Boris Johnson last year urged overweight Britons to shed the pounds after spending a week in intensive care with the virus in May 2020.
The prime minister said last summer that he had lost more than a stone since coming out of the hospital by eating less and exercising more.