Coronavirus: Prime Minister to set strategy to fight obesity in UK

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Generalists will be encouraged to prescribe cycling where appropriate


Boris Johnson will outline his strategy for tackling obesity on Monday – including a 12-week plan for people losing weight and cycling prescribed by general practitioners.

It comes after research from Public Health England found that being overweight or obese puts people at increased risk of serious illness or death from Covid-19.

Ministers estimate that around two-thirds of adults in the UK are over a healthy weight.

The Labor Party said “radical action” on obesity was long overdue.

It is not yet known how much new money will be allocated to the anti-obesity campaign.

Mr Johnson admitted his own weight was a factor in the severity of his suffering from the coronavirus.

The government estimates that conditions linked to overweight and obesity cost the NHS more than £ 6 billion each year.

There were nearly 900,000 obesity-related hospitalizations in 2018/19, with obesity being a risk factor for chronic diseases, including type 2 diabetes, certain cancers, liver and respiratory disease.

The “Better Health” campaign will aim to reach 35 million people with the goal of “helping them lose weight and live healthier lives,” the government said.

This will be supported by a 12 week plan that people can use to develop healthier eating habits, become more active, and lose weight.

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A government spokesperson said: “Covid-19 has alerted us all to the immediate and long-term risks of being overweight, and the Prime Minister is clear that we must use this moment to be healthier, more active and eat better. .

“We will be urging the public to take this moment to take stock of how they are living their lives and take simple steps to lose weight, live healthier lives and reduce the pressure on the NHS. ”

As part of these plans, NHS weight loss services will be expanded so more people get support, and GPs will be encouraged to prescribe cycling in pilot areas identified as having poor health outcomes.

The surgeries will provide access to bicycles and ministers promise that local cycling infrastructure will be improved.

This can include separate cycle paths, low traffic neighborhoods, and secure bicycle parking.

The government is also expected to ban junk food ads online and before 9 p.m. on TV, while snack promotions will be cut.

Restaurant and takeout chains will have to publish the number of calories in the meals they serve, according to the Daily Mail – while stores will need to do the same with any alcohol they sell.

Labor shadow secretary for health Jonathan Ashworth said the UK was facing an “obesity crisis”.

“Drastic action against obesity is long overdue. Years of conservative cuts to public health budgets and the rollback on a pre-advertising ban on junk food have left us with some of the worst childhood obesity rates in the world, ”he said. .

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