Friday, July 02, 2021

New shedworkers and homeworkers advised to watch their calorie consumption

New research suggests that working from home has changed workers' eating patterns. The study from the Institute of Fiscal Studies looked examined millions of food and non-alcoholic drink purchases from shops, takeaways and restaurants, and the calories consumed. It shows that:

* By May 2020, total calories were 15% above normal levels. During the second half of 2020, they were still, on average, 10% higher than usual. 

* There was a large increase in calories from takeaways, which peaked at more than double usual levels in the UK’s second national lockdown in November 2020. 

* 90% of households increased their total calories, relative to normal, with the largest increases for the wealthiest households and the smallest for retired ones. 

Kate Smith, Associate Director at IFS and an author of the research, said: "The huge changes in where people work, eat and socialise over the past year have led to a significant rise in calorie intake. Increases in food consumed at home more than offset drops in calories from eating out. 90% of households increased their calorie intake, with the largest rises for the wealthiest households."

Martin O’Connell, Deputy Research Director at IFS and an author of the research, added: "An important question for policymakers is whether higher calorie consumption persists as we emerge from the pandemic. Our findings point towards increased homeworking as a factor in driving higher calorie consumption. This could exacerbate the challenge of improving population diet and reducing obesity levels."


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