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July 27, 2020

UK launches obesity strategy in the wake of Covid-19 pandemic

By Allie Nawrat

The UK Government has launched a nationwide strategy to tackle obesity and encourage people to live healthier lives. Obesity is a huge health threat in the UK, something which has only been further emphasised in the Covid-19 pandemic where weight was a big risk factor for contracting the viral disease.

The government’s strategy involves banning adverts of foods high in fat, sugar or salt (HFSS) on TV and online before 9pm because of research showing that adverts affect what children want to eat. Other measures include getting rid of buy one get one free promotions for foods HFSS and removing these types of foods from being placed in prominent places in stores.

Also, the UK Government will be expanding NHS’ weight management services supported by online tools. This will involve an accelerating of the NHS’ Diabetes Prevention Programme.

New laws linked with the strategy will require large restaurants, cafes and takeaways to add calorie labels to the foods they sell. A consultation will be launched about whether calorie labelling should be added to alcohol products.

Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Matt Hancock said: “Everyone knows how hard losing weight can be so we are taking bold action to help everyone who needs it.

“When you’re shopping for your family or out with friends, it’s only fair that you are given the right information about the food you’re eating to help people to make good decisions.

“To help support people we need to reduce unhelpful influences like promotions and adverts that affect what you buy and what you eat.

“Taken together, supported by an inspiring campaign and new smart tools, will get the country eating healthily and losing the pounds.

“We know obesity increases the risk of serious illness and death from coronavirus – so it’s vital we take action on obesity to protect the NHS and improve our nation’s health.”

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