LONDON – Want to beat COVID-19? Then lose weight.
This is the message from Boris Johnson, the loud Prime Minister of Britain, who used his own brush with the coronavirus to urge Britons to shed a few pounds in order to reduce their risk of catching it.
Johnson posted a video on Monday saying he had lost 14 pounds since being admitted to a London hospital intensive care unit in April.
“I’ve always wanted to lose weight for ages and ages, and like, I think, a lot of people I struggle with my weight it goes up and down, but ever since I recovered from the coronavirus, I’ve been rebuilding regularly my fitness, ”he said.
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“But when I went to intensive care, when I was really sick, I was very, I was very overweight. I’m only 5’10 ” you know, on the outside and, you know, I was too fat. “
Also on Monday, the UK government announced a series of fat-fighting measures, including a ban on TV ads for foods high in fat, sugar and salt before 9 p.m. The policy marked a reversal for Johnson , a libertarian conservative who, only a year ago, was against “taxes for sin” on fast food as an example of the “nanny state”.
In 2006, Johnson offered her support to a group of mothers who made headlines for pushing fast food through the gates of a school where unhealthy snacks were banned. “I say people eat what they like. Why shouldn’t they push the pies through the railings? he said at the time.
Weight has been a long-standing concern in the UK, where 27.8% of people are obese, according to figures from the World Health Organization from 2018. Only Turkey, with 32.1%, and Malta, with 28.9%, obtained a higher score in this study.
Various scientific studies and national health organizations have linked obesity to a higher risk of becoming seriously ill from COVID-19. In the UK, nearly 8% of critically ill COVID-19 patients in intensive care units were morbidly obese, compared to 2.9% of the general population, according to UK government statistics.
Johnson said he lost weight through a daily morning run with his dog, Dilyn. And besides reducing the risk of COVID-19, there’s another reason it encourages people to get active: Obesity is costing the National Health Service billions of pounds.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock wrote in a Telegraph op-ed on Monday that if every overweight Briton lost just 5 pounds it would save the NHS £ 100million ($ 128million) over the next five years.
Johnson’s stay in the hospital has come to symbolize how COVID-19 engulfed the UK in April and May. His 45,000 deaths to date are the third highest in the world, and the Johnson government’s response has been heavily criticized by public health experts and opposition politicians.
Johnson admitted his team had underestimated how viral the coronavirus was, in a BBC interview on Friday. “We didn’t understand it [the virus] as we would have liked in the first few weeks and months, ”he said.