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Covid Survey Shows Kiwis Have Gained Tonnes Of Weight

A key statistic from the ExerciseNZ study show that Kiwis have gained 2.8 million kilos, or 2819 tonnes, of weight in the last 12 months.

Those that did gain weight gained on average 5.4kg in a year, almost 10 times the normal rate of adult weight gain.

While, on average, people gain around 500 to 700 grams a year in early adulthood, but this survey shows weight gain is way up.

It’s clear that lockdown, and the longer term covid challenges last year, changed the way people moved, but just as importantly what they ate, new research shows.

What is consistent across both the weight gain and weight loss groups is stress, the ExerciseNZ commissioned survey found.

Those that lost the most weight were essential service workers such as police and nurses, ExerciseNZ chief executive Richard Beddie says.

“Both police and nurse roles had major work changes due to covid and stress can lead to both weight gain or weight loss, depending on the individual.

“The good news is that in terms of some activity levels, such as those taking part in exercise have returned to pre covid levels.”

The latest industry survey data shows more than 95 percent of people who exercised before covid, are back to exercise as normal in terms of visits and usage.

"While this is good, we need to look at ways where we can bring the benefits of exercise to the 80 percent of the population who don’t presently take part in any structured physical activity.

“One of the ways we are trying to help is by subsidising gym memberships for first time members and a limited number are available around New Zealand that are accessed via www.exercisenz.org.nz,” Beddie says.

More New Zealanders today are aware of the benefits of exercise than three years ago, according to ExerciseNZ’s consumer research.

In 2018, 55 percent of people in Aotearoa saw value in physical activity. That figure has climbed this year to 61 percent.

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