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New obesity strategy unveiled as country urged to lose weight to beat coronavirus and protect the NHS

A raft of measures have been revealed as part of the government’s new obesity strategy to get the nation fit and healthy, protect themselves against COVID-19 and protect the NHS.

Obesity is one of the biggest health crises the country faces. Almost two-thirds (63%) of adults in England are overweight or living with obesity – and 1 in 3 children leave primary school overweight or obese, with obesity-related illnesses costing the NHS £6 billion a year. The urgency of tackling the obesity time bomb has been brought to the fore by evidence of the link to an increased risk from COVID-19.

Rather than focusing primarily on childhood obesity, the strategy represents a new focus on empowering adults to lose weight as well. The measures in this plan include:

  • 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’