Overweight people are asked to lose five pounds to save the money from the NHS and reduce the risk of death from coronavirus as part of the government’s new crackdown.
Oris Johnson, when he unveils his obesity strategy on Monday, will end the display of confectionery at checkout counters and ban TV junk food advertising before 9 p.m., while encouraging the British to shed pounds.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock wrote in the Telegraph that anyone who was classified as overweight was a target.
If we all do our part, we can reduce our health risks and protect ourselves from coronavirus – and put pressure on the NHSPrime Minister Boris Johnson
He said, “If anyone who was overweight lost five pounds, it could save the NHS over £ 100 million over the next five years.
And more importantly, given the link between obesity and coronavirus, losing weight can be life-saving. “
The Prime Minister has already revealed how his own brush with Covid-19, which he needed intensive care with in April, convinced him of the need to tackle Britain’s bulging waistline.
Two thirds of British adults are over a healthy weight, according to government data, and one in three children aged 10 to 11 is overweight or obese.
Mr. Johnson told BBC News on Friday: “One thing, by the way, which I think has made a difference – to me and to quite a few others – is frankly the problem of being overweight.
“And that’s why we need to tackle our national fight against overweight.”
Mr. Johnson, who said he has lost a stone since his illness, has argued that “being fitter and healthier would help” people “resist the coronavirus” and protect the NHS.
This week’s “Better Health” plan comes as evidence that being overweight is linked to a higher risk of serious coronavirus disease.
A Public Health England (PHE) study found that being classified as medically obese increased the risk of coronavirus death by 40%.
Key changes announced as part of the Waist Tackling Campaign include banning “buy one, get a free” promotions on chips and chocolate, and banning supermarkets from tempting seducers with unhealthy snacks at checkouts and shop entrances.
Restaurants will have to display the calories in items on menus and there will be a consultation to do the same for alcohol.
As part of the program, the NHS weight loss services will be expanded, with a 12-week weight loss app unveiled, following in the footsteps of the popular Couch to 5k running app.
GPs are encouraged to prescribe bicycle rides, which allow patients in trial areas to access bicycles.
Doctors will also receive reward incentives for the number of people referred to weight loss clubs and online weight loss programs, according to the Telegraph.
The Prime Minister said, “Losing weight is difficult, but with a few small changes, we can all feel fitter and healthier.
“If we all do our part, we can reduce our health risks and protect ourselves from coronavirus – and put pressure on the NHS.”
The highly interventionist approach marks a turning point for Mr. Johnson, who until recently was an outspoken opponent of “sin taxes” and was viewed by the state as “nannies”.
But Mr. Johnson appears to have withdrawn his libertarian stance on a plan to save the NHS time and money while helping to reduce the number of deaths from Covid-19 in a possible second wave of infections.
In a speech to be shared on social media, Mr. Johnson will propose the introduction of new laws to ban junk food advertising on television and online before 9pm and ministers will also consult on whether the internet ban on apply any time of the day.
In addition to banning so-called “Bogof” promotions of junk food, supermarkets will be legally prohibited from displaying sweets and other high-fat foods in prominent retail locations.
Calorie labeling measures also require restaurants and takeaways with more than 250 employees to declare the calorie content in the food they sell and a consultation will be launched to determine if similar guidelines for alcohol are required.
Dr. Alison Tedstone, chief nutritionist at PHE, who will lead the campaign, said, “These plans are ambitious and right.
“Tackling obesity will help prevent serious illness and save lives.”
The Obesity Health Alliance, a coalition of more than 40 leading health organizations, medical colleges and campaign groups, praised the targeted offerings.
But Kate Nicholls, CEO of UKHospitality, criticized the timing of the additional charges on restaurants and pubs.
“As we focus on securing jobs and helping the economy and communities recover, many costs and regulatory burdens would be a blow,” she said.
Health Minister Alex Norris, who criticized the three consultations announced in the strategy, said: “We have had great promises from Tory ministers before banning advertising for junk food, only to take measures in the long grass of to negotiate.
“But an effective obesity strategy requires action, not consultation.”