Revealed: Lockdown toll has negatively affected women more than men

A recent study by Aviva found that that the UK lockdown, which was implemented in March to combat Covid-19, has affected more women than men in a number of health areas.

The survey of 2,003 UK working adults conducted during the lockdown, found that it had a significant impact on all forms of wellbeing –increased stress while working, poor sleep quality, weight changes, unhealthy eating patterns and broken exercise habits.

Almost three in five women said that they have felt stressed at work since the lockdown began compared with four in ten men who highlighted an increase in stress.

Almost half (46 per cent) of women described their quality of sleep on a weekly basis as poorer compared to before the lockdown, whereas just over a third (34 per cent) of men said the same. 

Women also were more likely to say that their exercise levels suffered and that they were struggling with healthy eating.

45 per cent of women said they have gained weight since lockdown began, whilst just over 32 per cent men identified this as an issue.

In the early stages of lockdown, those in the UK were allowed by the government to take one form of daily exercise close to home for up to one hour a day. Since then, restrictions on exercise have relaxed, with gyms set to reopen shortly.

Understandably, this disruption to exercise is reflected in the survey responses. However, women were again more likely to report a greater impact on their routines.

Four in ten women said their exercise levels have decreased since the COVID-19 lockdown, against a third of men.

Speaking about the findings, Dr Subashini M, Associate Medical Director, UK Health & Protection at Aviva, said, “I would like to see employers review how supportive they are of their staff for flexible working and working around their caring responsibilities.”

“Undertaking a review of home working adjustments, by splitting workplace/employee data into different categories such as gender might reveal areas where employers can help.”

“How employers monitor and help wellbeing is vital for an organisation to succeed in a post COVID-19 world.”

“All of us should spend some time reflecting on the habits we have developed during lockdown as many of us are struggling to cope with the social disconnection, financial strain, increased obligations in the home and prolonged period of uncertainty.”

“These small changes, if left uncorrected, can have a profound impact on our health in the long run as well as negatively impacting our outcomes should we be unfortunate enough to be unwell with COVID-19 in the shorter term.”