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Fri, 14 August 2020

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Boris Johnson set to launch major new anti-obesity strategy in bid to reduce pressure on NHS

Boris Johnson set to launch major new anti-obesity strategy in bid to reduce pressure on NHS

Boris Johnson is set to launch the major anti-obesity drive on Monday

3 min read

Boris Johnson is set to launch a major new anti-obesity push in a bid to reduce further pressure on the NHS.

GPs will be given the greenlight to prescribe cycling and provide bikes to patients under new pilots plans set to be launched by the Prime Minister on Monday.

The move comes as part of a major anti-obesity drive which has been launched following warnings over the risk that Covid-19 poses to overweight people.

According to ministers, around two-thirds of UK adults are above a healthy weight, with 36% overweight and 28% obese.

The new "Better Health" campaign will provide advice to around 35 million Brits, including setting out a 12-week diet plan to help them lose weight.

The plans will also see a major investment in new cycling schemes, including constructing more cycle lanes, providing secure cycle parking and developing new low-traffic neighbourhoods.

The government are also set to launch a crackdown on junk food advertising as part of the plans, with a ban on TV adverts until after the 9pm watershed and an end to buy-one-get-one-free promotions on unhealthy foods.

Meanwhile, ministers are set to order alcohol firms as well as takeaway providers and restaurants to publish calorie counts on their products.

Boris Johnson has already claimed to have lost a "stone and a bit" since his hospitalisation with the virus, saying he had lost the extra weight through a mixture of diet and exercise.

And setting out the plans, a government spokesperson said the pandemic would give the public the chance to "take stock" of their health.

"Covid-19 has given us all a wake-up call of the immediate and long-term risks of being overweight, and the prime minister is clear we must use this moment to get healthier, more active and eat better," they said.

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

Responding to the plans, shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth said taking "radical action" to tackle obesity was "long overdue".

"Years of Tory cuts to public health budgets and the backsliding on a pre-watershed ban on junk food advertising have left us with some of the worst rates of childhood obesity anywhere in the world," he said.

"Tory ministers have promised action before only for measures to be kicked into the long grass with consultation after consultation.

"We are now facing an obesity crisis. Labour has demanded action including a ban on the sale of energy drinks to children, restrictions on junk food advertising to children, clear calorie and nutritional details on all food and drinks and the proper funding of public health services, such as weight management programmes."

Read the most recent article written by John Johnston - Labour hit out at A-level 'fiasco' after almost 40% of results downgraded

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