Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced a number of measures to tackle obesity as part of a national crackdown.
The whole of the UK will see a ban on junk food adverts before 9pm, the government has confirmed.
This followed calls from leading experts, where they argued that high-fat and high-sugar food and drinks should not be allowed to advertise before this time.
Action on Sugar, Action on Salt and 47 other health charities urged Johnson to implement all outstanding recommendations in the government’s childhood obesity initiative.
Johnson is also ending ‘buy one get one free’ deals on unhealthy products. Additionally, shops will not be allowed to display sweets and chocolates at checkout counters.
Obesity increases risk of COVID-19 death
The drive for a healthier nation follows Johnson’s own battle with COVID-19 in April.
According to a report from Public Health England (PHE), being obese or excessively overweight increases the risk of severe illness and death from COVID-19.
Research shows it increases the risk of hospitalisation, admission into the intensive care unit (ICU) and death from the virus. Risk grows substantially as body mass index (BMI) increases.
In one study, results suggested that those with a BMI of 35 to 40, the risk of death from COVID-19 increases by 40%. And for those with a BMI over 40, the risk increases by 90% when compared to those not living with obesity.
Calorie labels on foods
The new changes introduced by Johnson will also require cafes, takeaways and restaurants with more than 250 employees to place calorie labels on all of their products.
The Prime Minister is also encouraging the public to get out and exercise. He hopes this will ‘reduce our health risks and protect ourselves against coronavirus – as well as taking pressure off the NHS’.
He said: ‘I’ve always wanted to lose weight for ages and ages and like many people I struggle with my weight – I go up and down.
‘But since I recovered from coronavirus, I’ve been steadily building up my fitness. I don’t want to make any excessive claims because I’ve only really just started concentrating on it. But I’m at least a stone down, I’m more than a stone down.’
The British Dental Association (BDA) greeted the government’s intervention. However, it calls for ministers to tackle the common factors driving tooth extractions among children.
‘The government has a historic opportunity to put its money where its mouth is when it comes to prevention, but it must take a joined-up approach,’ said Mick Armstrong, chair of the BDA.
‘Tooth decay is the number one reason for hospital admissions among young children. It will be negligence if this war on obesity does not confront the common enemy driving an oral health crisis.
‘The time must mark the beginning and not the end of the government’s willingness to step up and confront these grotesque inequalities.
‘We look to ministers for decisive action, and not let this vital agenda die a death by a thousand consultations.’
Follow Dentistry.co.uk on Instagram to keep up with all the latest dental news and trends.