UK announces plans to tackle ‘obesity time bomb’

The UK has announced plans to tackle the “obesity time bomb”, with a ban on adverts for junk food at specific times, the cancellation of “buy one get one free” deals on such items and a decision to put the calorie count on menus.

In addition to the ban on adverts before 9 p.m., on food deals and plans for calorie counts on menus, the government said on Sunday that it will arrange a consultation about displaying calories on alcohol, reports Xinhua news agency.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson will unveil the strategy on Monday amid growing evidence of a link between obesity and an increased risk from COVID-19.

Government statistics have showed that nearly 8 per cent of critically ill patients in intensive care units with the virus have been morbidly obese, compared with 2.9 per cent of the general population.

The British are more overweight than any other nation in Europe except the Maltese, he said last month, adding that his government described “tackling the obesity time bomb” as a priority.

“Losing weight is hard but with some small changes we can all feel fitter and healthier,” Johnson said in a statement.

“If we all do our bit, we can reduce our health risks and protect ourselves against coronavirus — as well as taking pressure off the NHS (National Health Service),” he added.