The town’s health chief has backed a new nationwide drive to encourage people to get fit and healthy this summer.

The Better Health campaign run by Public Health England offers support and guidance to those working towards a healthier weight, including a range of NHS endorsed apps.

It follows a national survey of more than 5,000 people that revealed that 38 per cent of adults in the south west felt they had put on weight since the first lockdown in March last year.

The average weight gain was 9lbs and 21 per cent of respondents reported putting on a stone or more.

In adults aged 35 to 65 years old, the average gain for those who put on weight rose to just over 10lbs.

Borough council director of public health Steve Maddern, said: “Swindon welcomes the Better Health campaign encouraging people to be active, eat well and lose weight this summer.

“We know the importance of keeping active and eating a healthy diet and this campaign will complement our local work to get Swindon active and support people to manage their weight.

“Over the summer and autumn there will be a range of local activities, including programmes to encourage people to walk and cycle more and make the most of the outside spaces across Swindon as well as the promotion of weight loss classes.”

The new insights show the extent that lockdowns have had an impact on people’s eating and physical activity.

Unhealthy eating habits, like snacking and comfort eating, were reported as the main contributor to expanding waistlines during the pandemic for 46 per cent of those who admitted they had got heavier.

A high proportion of those in the South West who gained weight said it was important for them to introduce new healthy habits this summer and 45 per cent said they wanted to have a healthier diet

Public Health south west, health and wellbeing officer Tim Collicott, said: “Maintaining a healthy weight is important for our health and wellbeing. In addition to lowering the risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and high blood pressure, it can also lower the risk of many different cancers.

“The latest Better Health campaign offers free evidence-based support and guidance to those working towards a healthier lifestyle.”

PHE is also working with local authorities to provide weight management support to those who need it. Visit