Recently, the government released their new plans to tackle obesity in the UK. It seems that Boris John has taken quite a U turn on this issue, last year he publicly noted that he was against taxing sugary milkshakes (Politics Home, 2019). However since his coronavirus scare, it appears that the PM is eager to take an understanding and practical approach towards addressing weight (Guardian News, 2020).
63% of adults UK adults are overweight, with half of these falling into the obese category (NHS Digital, 2020). Not only this is linked to chronic diseases like diabetes and cancers (Guh et al., 2009) but also negative impacts on mental health (Luppino et al., 2010) and NHS spending of £6.1 billion annually (Scarborough, 2011).
In the light of Covid-19, issues relating to health and obesity have only been exacerbated. Evidence agrees that those who are overweight are consistently more likely to be admitted to hospital and die from the virus (Public Health England, 2020). It should be noted that since those in deprived areas are more likely to be overweight (NHS Digital, 2019), we see that health inequality is feeding into the story of the pandemic.
What is the government doing?
- Creating apps and expanding weight management services- particularly to parts of the country hit hardest by Covid-19.
- Requiring large companies to disclose calories in their food, and consulting about doing this with alcohol.
- Restricting volume promotions (BOGOF) and prime location marketing (tills, end of isles) on unhealthy foods.
- Banning advertising of unhealthy foods after 9pm and consulting about how best to do this one.
Positively, it seems that the government is making steps towards putting the power back in our hands, with calorie labeling and restricting marketing making it easier to make informed choices.
Also, it is reassuring to know that weight management services will be focused on the deprived areas hit hardest by covid-19.
That being said, the policy seems to neglect factors such as exercise, stress, convenience and affordability.
At Your Back Yard, we are working as hard as we can to get our exercise classes for over 50s up and running again. We are excited to say that the Bramley walking football group is meeting again for their weekly sessions, but we would love to be hosting more.
Currently, we are trying to secure funding that will allow us to post workout videos and advice online, whilst also hosting live streams of our usual classes. As soon as we have more information on this we will update you!
Read our full artical here: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1GvmgmRA6f1YGcqpC-TjyCP3P-7iobxSlyZqDImQqQ3c/edit?usp=sharing
Guardian News. 2020. ‘I Was Too Fat’: Boris Johnson Launches UK Obesity Reduction Drive. [online] Available at: <https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=74&v=wpQAc__UBec&feature=emb_logo> [Accessed 20 August 2020].
Guh et al. (2009) The incidence of co-morbidities related to obesity and overweight: A systematic review and meta-analysis, BMC Public Health
Luppino FS, de Wit LM, Bouvy PF, Stijnen T, Cuijpers P, Penninx BWJH, et al. (2010) Overweight, obesity, and depression: a systematic review and meta-analysis of longitudinal studies. Archives of General Psychiatry 2010;67(3):220-9
NHS Digital (2020) Statistics on Obesity, Physical Activity and Diet, England, 2020
Politics Home. 2019. Boris Johnson Says He Could Axe ‘Milkshake Tax’ If He Becomes Prime Minister. [online] Available at: <https://www.politicshome.com/news/article/boris-johnson-says-he-could-axe-milkshake-tax-if-he-becomes-prime-minister> [Accessed 20 August 2020].
Public Health England. (2020) Excess weight and COVID-19: insights from new evidence
Scarborough, P. (2011) The economic burden of ill health due to diet, physical inactivity, smoking, alcohol and obesity in the UK: an update to 2006–07 NHS costs. Journal of Public Health. May 2011, 1-9