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HEALTH

French people put on an average of 2.5kg during lockdown, says survey

French women don't get fat, according to one bestselling book. But the nation which likes to look after its figure has piled on the pounds during the coronavirus lockdown, a survey showed on Wednesday.

French people put on an average of 2.5kg during lockdown, says survey
Unsurprisingly, restrictions on exercise plus lots of time for snacking has lead to weight gain. Photo: AFP

More than half of French people, 57 percent in total, got fatter since the lockdown began on March 17th, according to an Ifop poll, with many working from home and some not at all, and outdoors exercise strictly limited.

On average, the French gained 2.5 kg each due to the imposed sedentary lifestyle and a steep rise in a practice generally frowned upon in France: snacking between meals.

With more time on their hands given the lack of a daily commute, 42 percent of respondents reported that apéro snacks have become a more of a feature in their daily routine.

Exercising outside the house has been heavily restricted during lockdown. Photo: AFP

Women were more likely to put on weight (58 percent compared to 56 percent of men), but gained less than their male counterparts on average – 2.3 kg v 2.7 kg, said the poll conducted among a nationally-representative sample of 3,045 people aged 18 and older.

Unemployed people and married couples with children were more affected by the broadening trend.

The poll also found that 42 percent of couples argued about cooking – hardly surprising given that 71 percent of women living with a partner said they tasked with preparing the majority of meals.

Fifty-six percent polled said they intended to eat healthier once things go back go normal, but fewer than one in five thought they needed a full-on diet.

And it's not just waistlines that are increasing.

Last month, viewership data taken over a one-week period revealed that French people in lockdown spent nearly five hours per day in front of the television on average – an hour and 17 minutes per day more than a year earlier.

Another Ifop poll on Tuesday said 44 percent of French people reported having had no sex in the last four weeks, compared to 26 percent before lockdown.

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STRIKES

French doctors to stage more strikes in February

General practitioners in France are planning another industrial action that will see doctors' offices closed as they call for better investment in community healthcare.

French doctors to stage more strikes in February

Primary care doctors in France announced plans to strike again in February, after walkouts in December and over the Christmas-New Year holidays in early January.

The strike will take place on Tuesday, February 14th, and it comes just a few weeks ahead of the end-of-February deadline where France’s social security apparatus, Assurance Maladie, must reach an agreement to a structure for fees for GPs for the next five years.

Hospital doctors in France are largely barred from striking, but community healthcare workers such as GPs are self-employed and therefore can walk out. 

Their walk-out comes amid mass strike actions in February over the French government’s proposed pension reform. You can find updated information on pensions strikes HERE.

Previous industrial action led to widespread closures of primary care medical offices across the country. In December, strike action saw between 50 to 70 percent of doctor’s surgeries closed.

READ MORE: Urgent care: How to access non-emergency medical care in France

New concerns among GPs

According to reporting by La Depeche, in the upcoming strike in February primary care doctors will also be walking out over a new fear – the possibility of compulsory ‘on-call’ hours.

Currently, French GPs take on-call hours on a voluntary basis. Obligatory on-call time for primary care doctors was scrapped in the early 2000s after GPs mobilised against the requirement.

However, representatives from the Hospital Federation have called for it to be reinstated in order to help relieve emergency services.

Additionally, GPs are calling for Saturday shifts to considered as part of their standard working week, in order to allow for a two-day weekend.

Striking primary care doctors are more broadly calling for actions by the government and Assurance Maladie to help make the field more appealing to younger physicians entering the profession, as the country faces more medical deserts, and for working conditions to be improved.

Those walking out hope to see administrative procedures to be simplified and for the basic consultation fee – typically capped to €25 – to be doubled to €50.

In France patients pay the doctor upfront for a visit, and then a portion of the fee is reimbursed by the government via the carte vitale health card.

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