A fifth of individuals who work from home eat 30% more than those who work in the office, new research has revealed.

The study conducted by Bupa has also found that physical activity is lower amongst those working remotely compared to individuals based in the workplace.

Prior research has reported that an inactive lifestyle is just as damaging as smoking, with sitting down known to trigger heart disease, type 2 diabetes and blood clots.

During the study, the team of academics examined the lifestyles of more than 8,000 people, all of whom had outlined their daily routine in a questionnaire.

They found that 15 per cent of the participants consume more alcohol now compared to the start of the pandemic.

In addition, they discovered that more than 30 per cent of the participants had experienced a deterioration to their mental health due to spending more time at home.

First author Dr Robin Clark, from Bupa Global & UK, said: “Lockdowns, gym closures and general uncertainty made it difficult for many to prioritise their health during the pandemic.”

According to the experts, it will take years for the UK to bounce back from the pandemic, with people finding it hard to follow a healthy lifestyle again.

“This is worrying because the World Health Organisation has identified exercise and physical activity as one of four habits – alongside a healthy diet, avoiding harmful use of alcohol and not smoking – which will dramatically reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease,” said Dr Clark.

However, the study has reported that 30% of the participants want to eat healthier and take part in more physical activities.

Data has also shown that 50% of people in the UK have not seen their GP over the last 12 months, while 60% have not seen their dentist.

Dr Clark said: “Taking the first steps towards a more active, healthy lifestyle is key and it’s really encouraging to see health is firmly back on the agenda for many attempting to reverse some of the negative side-effects of ‘staying at home’.”

Fellow academic Professor Tracey Devonport said: “UK participants reported the lowest levels of perceived physical health and greatest weight gain during the pandemic.

“It also indicated that, irrespective of country of residence or age, participants reporting reduced physical activity experienced poorer physical and mental health.”

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said that the workplace increases productivity and is beneficial for other city centre businesses and public transport.

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