In a new global Ipsos survey, across 30 countries, apart from those in Peru, Britons are most likely to recognise a link between obesity and more severe symptoms of COVID-19. Almost two-thirds (64%) think there is a link, compared to 15% who believe there is no tie.
Nearly half (45%) of the British public believe losing weight would be an effective way to reduce the risk of more severe COVID-19 symptoms, globally the most likely to believe this. Regular exercise and giving up smoking are also seen as effective ways to avoid more serious illness by 35% and 31% respectively. Britons are least likely to see giving up alcohol as an effective prevention method against more serious COVID-19 symptoms (4%).
Despite such a high level of recognition, few see it as the main reason to lose weight. Among those who are currently trying to shed the pounds (36% of Britons), only 15% want to lose weight to reduce the risk of severe coronavirus symptoms. Over a third (36%) want to lose the weight they have gained during the pandemic, while 62% of those trying to lose weight say it is unrelated to the pandemic.
For those looking to lose weight (43%), over a third (36%) want to lose weight that they have gained during the pandemic, while 62% of those trying to lose weight say it is unrelated to the pandemic.
Despite the fact that a third (32%) of the British public have put on weight during the pandemic and the high awareness of the potential risks of getting more severe COVID-19 symptoms for people who are overweight, only 15% want to lose weight specifically to reduce their risk of severe COVID-19 symptoms, although two thirds (64%) say that it is important.