British PM Boris Johnson says COVID-19 struggle was worsened by obesity

Wednesday, 29 Jul, 2020

"If we want to build a healthier, more resilient society we need to wake up to the harm alcohol does to people's health".

Health secretary Matt Hancock, writing in the Daily Telegraph, said: 'If everyone who is overweight lost five pounds it could save the NHS over £100million over the next five years. "But since I recovered from coronavirus I have been steadily building up my fitness", he said in a video clip on Twitter.

Labour's shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth said the United Kingdom was facing an "obesity crisis".

A Public Health England (PHE) study published on Saturday discovered that being classed as medically obese increased the risk of death from coronavirus by 40 per cent.

The Government will likewise hold an assessment on whether the restriction on online adverts for foods high in salt, sugar and fat must use at all times of the day.

Placing sugary and fatty items in prominent locations in stores will be stopped, including at checkouts and entrances, and online.

The Department of Health has said that it will consult on whether calorie counts should also be added to alcohol products before the end of the year and is considering whether the ban on junk food adverts should be extended beyond 9pm.

The government will not, however, be extending the Soft Drinks Industry Levy, launched in 2018, onto unhealthy foods.

It added: 'From 2021, we will work with the [BMA] and the [NICE] to implement incentives for doctors through the [QOF] to ensure everyone living with obesity are offered support for weight loss'.

Cllr Mike Bell, North Somerset Council's deputy leader whose portfolio includes health, said: "Coronavirus has made us all realise what's really important to us - our family, friends and our health".

"We know obesity increases the risk of serious illness and death from coronavirus - so it's vital we take action on obesity to protect the NHS and improve our nation's health".

He is prompting the country to follow his lead, firmly insisting the Government's "much better health method" will assist individuals to "bring their weight down" and much better safeguard the NHS.

Under the plans, NHS weight loss services will be expanded so more people get support, and Global Positioning System will be encouraged to prescribe cycling in pilot areas identified as having poor health outcomes. Almost eight per cent of critically ill patients with Covid-19 in intensive care units have been morbidly obese, compared with just 2.9 per cent of the general population.

But Tam Fry, chair of the National Obesity Forum, said the government's plans were "not enough to see an end to the national emergency that obesity is".

The campaign will be targeted at groups most affected by obesity and is supported by a coalition of partners, including those providing weight management services.

From next year, physicians will be provided monetary rewards to make sure those who are overweight are supported to slim down, such as prescriptions for workout and bike flights.

"These bold measures will help us tip the scales on obesity". The data indicate overweight children are five times more likely to become overweight adults.