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Third coronavirus lockdown has seen surge in anxiety levels and unhealthy habits, data suggests

Nearly 1 in 3 Evergreen Life app users have felt 'overly anxious' during the coronavirus pandemic

Chantal da Silva
Friday 05 February 2021 17:32 GMT
Inside a hospital on the Covid frontline

Levels of anxiety, inactivity and unhealthy eating have surged to their highest point since the coronavirus pandemic began during England's third coronavirus lockdown, one popular health app has found.

According to the Evergreen Life app, on which around 800,000 users track their health and wellbeing, while also supplying data to the government's Covid-19 monitoring project, anxiety during the third lockdown has soared, particularly among women.

Nearly one in three participants of the app's daily surveys, which typically receive more than 1,000 responses a day, have reported feeling "overly-anxious" during the third lockdown - nearly double the levels seen last summer.

Meanwhile, in April of last year, just over a quarter of respondents reported being overly anxious.

The third lockdown has simultaneously seen users of the Evergreen Life app engaging in less healthy habits and exercising less than in past lockdowns.

Evergreen's surveys suggested there has been a growing rise in binge-drinking, poor eating habits and people getting less sleep, while time dedicated to exercise has gone down.

During the third lockdown, an average of 40 per cent of users have said they are dedicating at least 30 minutes a week to exercise, compared to the 50 per cent who said they were doing the same during England's first lockdown.

Dedication to exercise had peaked in the summer, with 60 per cent of users saying they were exercising for at least half an hour a week.

"Our users are showing us just how much worse their life satisfaction levels are in Lockdown Three," Evergreen CEO Stephen Critchlow said in a statement.

"These problems have been building gradually but it is the combination of so many factors that has brought us to this, perhaps the most worrying point in the entire pandemic," he said.

"The scale of the problem shows that whether or not you’ve had or are about to have the vaccine, you need to take steps to protect your long-term health now," he said, adding: " avoid unnecessary suffering and early death we also need to take care of our lifestyle and diet."

Mr Critchlow also warned of the long-term impact of struggling to address health issues outside of coronavirus during the pandemic.

"It seems very likely that, post-Covid, we will be catching up on treating these diseases at the same time that we have more people with them - unless we are more proactive and do something about it. To make changes to our diet and exercise regime, to make more of an effort to stay in contact with people and to use technology to help us make those changes," he said.

"All of us are suffering in some way and sometimes all it takes is an acknowledgement that we need to get out of the rut, to do something positive," he said.

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