Intended for healthcare professionals


Covid-19: England’s obesity strategy will fail without tackling social factors, warn doctors

BMJ 2020; 370 doi: (Published 27 July 2020) Cite this as: BMJ 2020;370:m2994

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  1. Elisabeth Mahase
  1. The BMJ

Having a BMI of 35 to 40 may increase the risk of death from covid-19 by 40%, while a BMI of over 40 could increase the risk by 90%, says a Public Health England report.1

In light of this the government has announced a new obesity strategy for England, which includes a ban on television and online advertisements for food high in fat, sugar, and salt before 9 pm, calorie content displayed on restaurant menus for food and alcoholic drinks, and an end to “buy one and get one free” deals on unhealthy food.

NHS weight management services will be expanded to reach more people, and GPs will be encouraged to prescribe exercise and more social activities to help people keep fit as part of the plans. Although the plans have been welcomed by several groups, they have said that the government must stand up to the “real enemy”—the food industry—to avoid the strategy becoming “another wasted opportunity.”

In 2018 the proportion of adults …

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