Amidst the cacophony of facts and information discovered about the coronavirus, it has recently been discovered that obesity can increase the likeliness of contracting Covid-19. The national average of obesity sits at 28% and a further 36% are overweight, making Britain the most overweight nation in Western Europe. As a result, the Government have unveiled new plans to tackle this crisis in the hopes to reduce the potential implications.
The Government has drafted 4 key ways to combat the ongoing problem including:
- Ban on TV and online adverts for food high in fat, sugar and salt before 9pm
- End of deals like ‘buy one get one free’ on unhealthy food high in salt, sugar and fat
- Calories to be displayed on menus to help people make healthier choices when eating out – while alcoholic drinks could soon have to list hidden ‘liquid calories’
- New campaign to help people lose weight, get active and eat better after COVID-19 ‘wake-up call’
These plans aim to help reduce the potential strain on the NHS. In the most challenging time our health service has ever faced, it is vital, now more than ever, to use every single method available to ease the pressure it is currently enduring. In addition, the new strategy will give individuals a chance adopt a healthy lifestyle change as well as fighting the virus off. However, is this enough to help the growing population?
Obesity and Poverty
There is a clear correlation between obesity and poverty in the UK. 30% of women and 25% of men who are deemed as the most deprived are obese. Links to food pricing and income has been a been a highlighted factor, with majority of fresh foods being more expensive and having a shorter lifespan. Moreover, there has been a rise in childhood obesity. A study carried out by UCL found children from disadvantaged families today are more likely to be overweight than in the 1950’s-70’s. Again, this maybe linked to the easy access to cheap, long-life processed foods, as well as the consistent pattern of deprived communities having little access to physical activity facilities.
With the new implementations, there is hope that the nation may begin its journey to a healthier state, in order to fight the virus. However, it could be argued that because the Government has not addressed some of the real, in-depth causes of obesity, the new guidelines may not be as effective as initially hoped. Politically fuelled or not, it is vital to do more to tackle the world’s fifth biggest killer, and reduce its 2.8 million yearly victims.