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Winter Woes: COVID-19, Vitamin D Deficiency, And Unhealthy Eating Top Concerns

Survey reveals health worries and habits during colder months, including SAD, comfort eating, and lack of motivation.

The biggest winter worries include catching COVID-19, a lack of vitamin D – and eating unhealthy food.

A poll of 2,000 adults found 39% have concerns when it comes to their health or wellbeing during the colder months.

Developing Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a worry for 17%, while 30% fret about their lack of motivation from the shorter days.

And 32% are already getting chills at the thought of adopting a ‘winter diet’ and eating types of foods that aren’t nutritionally beneficial.

Other winter dreads include getting dry skin and lips, having to get out of the shower, and waking up and coming home in the dark.

Developing Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a worry for 17%, while 30% fret about their lack of motivation from the shorter days. PHOTO BY SWNS 

The study was commissioned by California Walnuts, which has teamed up with NHS GP, Dr Amir Khan, to share his advice on how to maintain a healthy diet during winter.

Dr. Amir said: “When the days start to get shorter and the weather starts to change, so can our moods and behavior – which is only natural.

“Instead of wanting to spend more time outdoors, many of us typically want to stay inside and get cozy, and rather than choosing to eat colorful meals, we opt for dishes that makes us feel full and comforted.

“However, it’s important to try and keep some lifestyle habits the same rather than losing them altogether as this is best for both our physical and mental health and keeps us well all year round.”

When winter hits, 44% crave more unhealthy foods with 32% typically eating less healthily compared to the rest of the year.

And 28% admit to snacking on more ‘naughty’ things when the temperature drops.

Soups, stews and pies are the most popular comfort foods, with 19% also frequently turning to chocolate.

Despite the change in appetite, 56% don’t take any supplements from December to February to help keep their diet balanced.

However, of those who do, Vitamin D, multivitamins and Omega-3 are high on list.

According to the data, 52% are fully expecting to get ill at some point this winter.

The average adult predicts they will come down with a cold, cough or the sniffles twice, with a fifth of workers claiming they take more sick days in winter than summer.

It’s also a struggle for 64% to get out of bed on colder mornings, 57% feel more lethargic and 40% are less productive.

Developing Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a worry for 17%, while 30% fret about their lack of motivation from the shorter days. PHOTO BY SWNS 

And 35% even admitted to spending more time in a bad mood throughout the winter months.

Dr. Amir added: “Many people worry about what the winter means for their lifestyle but making small changes can make a big difference starting with what you eat.

“It may feel natural to reach for unhealthier foods in winter, but as with most things it’s all about balance, and nutritious foods should not be forgotten.

“Take a handful of walnuts for example – it is the only tree nut to contain significant amounts of the plant-based essential omega-3 alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) (2.7g/30g) – something which the body can’t naturally produce – and which research indicates may play a role in heart health, brain health, and healthy aging.

“But while a healthy immune system can’t be achieved with one food alone, a balanced diet along with physical activity and regular sleep can certainly help during the winter months.”


1. Catching colds
2. Getting the flu
3. Lack of motivation from the shorter days
4. Catching covid
5. A lack of vitamin D
6. Potential damp issues from drying clothes indoors
7. Comfort eating
8. The boiler might break down
9. Dry skin
10. Seasonal Affective Disorder
11. Eating unhealthy foods
12. Not being able to exercise outdoors
13 That it’s actually not very cold – a sign of climate change
14. Having to walk home in the dark from work or social events
15. Getting snowed in
16. Not drinking enough water
17. Kids spending too much time indoors on screens
18. Drinking too much alcohol
19. Anxiety around Christmas parties
20. Drinking too much coffee

Produced in association with SWNS Talker

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