UK announces massive obesity plan


“Losing weight is hard, but with a few small changes we can all feel slimmer and healthy.”British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said. Hospitalized in the spring in intensive care after contracting Covid-19, he attributed the severity of his symptoms several times to, among other things, his weight. His government decided on a comprehensive plan to fight obesity on Monday, July 27, after the publication of a study confirming that obesity is an aggravating factor for Covid-19.

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Public Health England (PHE), an agency under the National Department of Health and Welfare, published the study on Saturday, July 25, according to which obese people have a 40% increased risk of dying from Covid-19. “We know obesity increases the risk of serious illness and death from the coronavirus, so it is vital that we take action to improve the health of our nation and protect the NHS [le service de santé publique britannique]Health Minister Matthew Hancock said in a statement on Monday.

“Help people to make good decisions”

The Better Health campaign, launched by the British health authorities, “Will encourage people to adopt a healthier lifestyle and lose weight if they need to”, detailed the NHS, which wants to fight against “The time bomb for obesity”.

Among the measures announced, the ban on junk food ads before 9 p.m., to reduce the exposure of children. But also the calorie display of menus in restaurants and take-out chains with more than 250 employees.

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Supermarkets will also have to end promotions on junk food and will be prohibited from placing these items in key areas of their stores, such as at checkouts or at the entrance. “When you shop, it’s right to have access to the right information about the food you eat, to help people make the right decisions”, ruled Mr. Hancock.

Doctors “encouraged to prescribe exercise”

The plan also includes an expansion of the branches of the NHS devoted to weight loss. And general practitioners will be “Encouraged to prescribe exercise” physical to their patients. According to a Downing Street source, quoted by the UK news agency PA, this could take the form of pilot projects in the affected neighborhoods, where doctors can “Prescribe cycling sessions”, which will be facilitated by the provision of equipment and the creation of separate cycle paths.

In the UK, almost two-thirds (63%) of adults are over a weight considered healthy, with 36% overweight and 28% obese, according to government data. One in three children, between 10 and 11 years old, is overweight or obese.

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The World with AFP