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Obesity can increase risk of coronavirus death by up to 90%, PHE report finds

Severe obesity can increase the chance of dying from coronavirus by up to 90 per cent, new research shows, as Britons have been urged to shed the pounds.Severe obesity can increase the chance of dying from coronavirus by up to 90 per cent, new research shows, as Britons have been urged to shed the pounds.

A new Public Health England (PHE) report found a dramatic rise in the risk of hospitalisation and death from Covid-19, prompting an urgent Government campaign to slim down the nation.

The public has been snacking more in lockdown and, despite increases in sales of bikes and exercise equipment, overall activity levels appear to have dropped compared to before the pandemic, the PHE review said.Number 10 is now preparing to reveal an obesity-tackling plan “very soon”, with junk food adverts expected to be banned on television before the 9pm watershed and outlawed entirely online.

Promotions on snacks will be curbed in an attempt to tackle the nation’s waistlines, and restaurant and takeaway chains will have to publish the number of calories in the meals they serve, according to reports.

Shops will have to do the same with any alcohol they sell.The PHE review was published as gyms and indoor pools reopened around the country, allowing people to focus on their fitness.Indoor gyms and pools start to reopen in latest easing of lockdownBoris Johnson’s plans come only a year after he vowed to review “sin taxes”, such as proposals to extend the sugar tax to milkshakes.


The Prime Minister also confirmed his own brush with Covid-19, which led to him being admitted to intensive care in April, convinced him of the need to tackle obesity in Britain.

Boris Johnson ditches 'libertarian' stance on obesityThe study concluded that people who are overweight, with a body mass index (BMI) of 25 to 29.9, have a higher risk of hospitalisation and poor outcomes if they catch coronavirus.

Experts also discovered that having a BMI of 35 to 40 increases the risk of death from coronavirus by 40 per cent compared to people who are a healthy weight.

A BMI of 40 or more increases the risk by 90 per cent. The report said being overweight or obese increases the chance somebody will end up critically ill in intensive care.

It found that 7.9 per cent of critically ill patients with Covid-19 in intensive care units have a BMI of over 40 compared, with 2.9 per cent of the general population.Boris: We could be fighting Covid next summerSpeaking on Friday, the Prime Minister said he had lost more than a stone since his health scare, and reiterated that being obese is a risk factor when it comes to coronavirus.

Mr Johnson also admitted, in a marked change of tone, that the Government could have handled the early stages of the outbreak “differently”

Dr Alison Tedstone, chief nutritionist at PHE, said: “The current evidence is clear that being overweight or obese puts you at greater risk of serious illness or death from Covid-19, as well as from many other life-threatening diseases.

“It can be hard to lose weight and even harder to sustain it, which is why people cannot easily do it on their own.

“Losing weight can bring huge benefits for health – and may also help protect against the health risks of Covid-19.

The case for action on obesity has never been stronger.”

Boris Johnson warns 'we could be fighting Covid next year'The study pointed out that snack food and alcohol supermarket sales have risen, possibly reflecting the fact shops, pubs and cafes were closed during lockdown and people turned to snacking and drinking at home.

During the first six months of this year, alcohol sales were up 30 per cent on the same period last year, while confectionery sales were up 20 per cent and foods for sweet home cooking rose 22 per cent, the PHE report said.

Meanwhile, a survey of more than 2,000 people for the Food Standards Agency in May found that people were cooking more from scratch – but were also snacking on cakes, biscuits, confectionery and savoury snacks more often.

Reference: Evening Standard: Harriet Brewis 4 days ago:24th July 2020 

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