A fifth of people who work from home eat 30% more than those who work in the office, according to a new study.
The study conducted by Bupa also found that physical activity is lower among people working remotely compared to people based in the workplace.
Previous research has shown 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 looked at the lifestyles of more than 8,000 people, all of whom had described their daily routines in a questionnaire.
They found that 15% of participants are consuming more alcohol now than at the start of the pandemic.
Additionally, they found that more than 30% of participants had experienced a deterioration in 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 have made it difficult for many to prioritize their health during the pandemic.”
Experts say it will take years for the UK to recover from the pandemic, with people struggling to follow a healthy lifestyle again.
“This is worrying because the World Health Organization has identified exercise and physical activity as one of four habits – along with a healthy diet, avoiding harmful alcohol consumption and not smoking – that will reduce significantly the risk of cardiovascular disease,” said Dr. Clark.
However, the study reported that 30% of participants want to eat healthier and do more physical activity.
The data also showed that 50% of people in the UK have not seen their GP in the last 12 months, while 60% have not seen their dentist.
Dr Clark said: “Taking the first steps towards a more active and healthier lifestyle is essential and it is truly encouraging to see that health is firmly back on the agenda for many trying to reverse some of the negative side effects of ‘staying at home’. ”
University professor Tracey Devonport said: “British participants reported the lowest levels of perceived physical health and the greatest weight gain during the pandemic.
“It also indicated that regardless of country of residence or age, participants reporting reduced physical activity had poorer physical and mental health.”
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the workplace increases productivity and benefits other city center businesses and public transport.