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Big Macs, Domino’s pizzas and Greggs bakes could get smaller as part of crackdown on UK obesity crisis

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Public Health England has asked the food industry to ‘voluntarily’ cut calories on fast food items, which could mean the Big Mac will be 20% smaller. 

McDonald’s won’t be the only chain that could be affected by PHE’s new rules. Domino’s pizzas, a portion of fish and chips and even Greggs bakes could be affected in the shakeup.

Calories would be reduced by 20% in fast food and by 10% in children’s food bundles such as ready meals.

The 20% calorie reduction would see the Big Mac drop from 508 calories currently to 407. 

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Similarly, a pepperoni pizza from Domino’s would become 1,982 calories in the plans, reduced from the existing 2,478 – which is 478 calories over the entire recommended daily intake for women. 

Pizzas regularly contain more calories than the recommended daily intake and so were singled out in the scheme by PHE. 

Savoury snacks such as sandwiches and crisps would also see a calorie reduction of 5% under the new scheme. 

The government is also set to recommend a plan to help reduce people’s salt intake as many are having 8.5g a day, exceeding the 6g limit. 

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Public Health Minister Jo Churchill told The Sun: “We can all do our bit to stay healthy, to help protect us from coronavirus and take pressure off the NHS.

“The food industry can play their part, by making it as easy as possible for everyone to eat more healthily. These guidelines will help them take positive action.

Chief nutritionist for PHE, Dr Alison Tedstone added: “Eating food and drink that’s higher in calories than people realise is one of the reasons why many of us are either overweight or obese.

“This is about broadening choice for consumers, as well as making the healthier choice the easy choice. Progress to date on sugar and salt reduction has shown that this can happen without compromising on taste and quality.”

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Obesity costs the NHS £6.1 billion a year, with 28.7% of adults in England being classed as obese and 35.6% classed as overweight.

Dr Hilary Jones spoke about Britain’s health crisis on Good Morning Britain, warning that the issue needed support and motivation rather than humiliation. 

Hilary said: “People who are overweight or obese need GP support, but unless you address the issue in the first place and weigh them, you can’t give that support.

“The conversation has to take place, it has to be honest, it has to be frank and it has to be non-judgemental.

“Support services need to be there, but when £65million is being spent by social services in terms of bariatric equipment, such reinforced beds, heavy-duty wheelchairs, it’s something that needs to be solved because the NHS can’t afford it.”

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This follows recent headlines which saw a suggestion from the National Obesity Forum to weigh children in schools from September to ensure children are ‘losing lockdown weight’.

The National Child Measurement Programme weighs and measures children at school and passes the information onto the NHS to ‘plan and provide better health services for children’.

Parents will receive a letter from local authorities which will provide more information on whether your child will be weighed and measured. 

The information will compare children’s weight with their age, height and sex, using the controversial BMI measurement tool. 

The proposal was met with swift backlash. 

Many people explained that weighing children will do more harm than good and will damage the mental health of youngsters. 

Claire Mysko, CEO of the National Eating Disorder Associated, explains that BMI and weight are not holistic measures of health.

While the Centres For Disease Control and Prevention neither recommends for or against the use of the Body Mass Index measurement programme it says that pupils should be in a ‘safe and supportive environment for students of all bodies sizes’.

Adding to this, the CDC explains that there is no conclusive evidence that such programmes are effective in improving health in children. 

Mysko explains that tests can lead to bullying, shame and even disordered eating. Adding that schools should prioritise what makes children feel happy and strong, not encouraging them to fixate on what they look like or numbers on a scale. 

A spokesperson for the government programme told Refinery29: “We are also well known for pointing out that zoos measure their animals annually to check their good health, but our children, the country’s future, are ignored!” 

Mysko responded to this saying comparing children to zoo animals was ‘unhelpful and bizarre’.

She added: “We know that weight and BMI are not accurate measures of health and while we do need screenings in schools for a variety of issues, including eating disorders, and we need to be mindful and vigilant about ensuring that we’re measuring the health of kids.

“Weight and BMI are not what we should be looking at.” She adds that the onus of health shouldn’t be placed on an individual, especially a child.

“This is a systemic problem, not an individual issue, many people in our community who have struggled with eating disorders or who are in higher weight bodies have been subjected to years or lifetimes of diets and harmful weight loss programs, all built on the assumption that an individual can control their weight or environment, which isn’t a helpful or accurate way of framing the discussion.” 

Mysko explains that while Covid-19 has ‘serious life-threatening complications’ we mustn’t forget ‘mental health’ of children. She added that we ‘need to look at the risks of shaming kids for their body size in an environment where there are already so many mental health risks’.

Explaining that children have little control over their environment, what they eat and their ability to exercise, Mysko adds: “We need to be supporting kids now more than ever.”

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Aldi launches new ‘bargain hour’ where prices are slashed by 75%

All 912 Aldi stores across the UK will take part in the scheme

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Aldi has announced it’s introducing a special ‘bargain hour’, where shoppers will be able to save 75% on certain goods.

Aldi customers will be able to grab a proper bargain on things like bread, meat and fruit, the supermarket confirmed.

All 912 Aldi stores across the UK will take part in the scheme, marking down perishable products such as fruit, vegetables and meat on their last day of life, just before stores close.

The retailer is doing this to stop fresh produce from going to waste, and it’s part of their wider pledge to halve food waste by 2030.

N Chadwick / Geograph

While at the moment Aldi does reduce the price on certain products when they reach their best-before or use-by dates, it will now be offering bigger savings on products marked with a red sticker.

Julie Ashfield, Managing Director of Buying at Aldi, said: “Aldi is already known for its low prices, but these discounts will help some shoppers to cut their grocery bills even further – all while helping us reduce food waste.

“Customers should look out for the red stickers when shopping at Aldi, but shoppers need to be quick as I’m sure the products will prove popular.”

It’s worth remembering that items will be reduced at different times at different stores, and of course reduced produce is sold on a first-come, first-served basis.

Кирилл Венедиктов / Wikimedia

Meanwhile, Aldi has teamed up with Marcus Rashford to launch a brand new campaign to help feed hungry kids across the UK.

Marcus has been busy over the past year, highlighting the shocking food inequalities in our country and holding the government to account, and he’s been doing a fantastic job.

And while one in five children in the UK currently live in food poverty, the Man United star – who experienced food poverty when he was a kid – won’t stop on his mission to help end this tragedy.

To help tackle the issue of child food poverty, Aldi has confirmed that it will donate 10 million meals to feed families in need across the UK during 2021.

The supermarket has also released a short animation that personifies ‘hunger’ through a child’s eyes, to mark the collaboration with Marcus, with the footballer narrating the emotional poem that accompanies the short film.

The video explores a young kid’s relationship with hunger, using a poem by Giles Andreae, with illustrator Lisa Stickley bringing the story to life via the animation.

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MP calls for teachers to be given the vaccine next so schools can reopen

He’s called on Matt Hancock to give teachers increased priority

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An MP has called for teachers to be given the Covid-19 vaccine so kids can get back to school.

Richard Graham MP is asking Matt Hancock to vaccinate teachers, following the news that Education Secretary Gavin Williamson can’t guarantee schools will reopen after the February half term as was originally planned.

Mr Graham said vaccination was the only way forward, confirming that he has asked the government to make sure teachers are included in the next round of vaccinations, once the 13 million most vulnerable have had their jabs.

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He told GloucestershireLive: “If we want to give teachers, parents, pupils, families real certainty on schools, I think there’s only one way to do it, to vaccinate all the teachers.

“That way schools will know their staff will not have to go off and self-isolate, and are not going to catch the virus.

“Parents will also know their pupils are not going to be either infected by teachers or infect them.

“That would be a huge step forward. It doesn’t rule out all the risks. Pupils can still spread it amongst themselves and then back to their parents at home.”

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A teacher from Derbyshire has created a petition asking for teachers, school and childcare staff to be prioritised for the coronavirus vaccine.

Charlotte Appleyard’s petition has already gained more than 470,000 signatures, which meant it was discussed in parliament on Monday.

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Sir Alex Ferguson’s emotional message to Marcus Rashford as he’s honoured for his charity work

The footballer was honoured at the Football Writers’ Association annual tribute awards

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Marcus Rashford has been in the news a lot over the past year for his valiant efforts in fighting child food poverty in the UK.

The Manchester United star has now been honoured again for his efforts, becoming the youngest person ever to receive an award at the Football Writers’ Association annual tribute awards.

Sir Alex Ferguson sent the 23-year-old an emotional message after he was honoured in recognition of his hard work tackling child poverty during the Covid-19 crisis, praising the ‘wonderful person’ he had become.

Marcus has been busy highlighting the shocking food inequalities in our country and holding the government to account, and he’s been doing a fantastic job.

And while one in five children in the UK currently live in food poverty, the striker – who experienced food poverty when he was a kid – won’t stop on his mission to help end this tragedy.

The footballer campaigned for free school meals to be extended during holidays, and more recently has raised awareness of the ‘woefully inadequate’ meal parcels some families have been receiving this week.

Marcus has been working with charity FareShare to help deliver food to hungry kids who are no longer getting free school meals, and yesterday it was reported that he’d teamed up with Aldi to donate 10 million meals to families in need.

Sir Alex said: “I would like to congratulate Marcus on his achievement and presentation (of the FWA Tribute Award) tonight.

“I have known him since being a kid of 7 years of age, and seen him develop through the ranks of Manchester United into a truly wonderful person.

“Apart from his football life, what he has achieved in the last few months is quite astonishing, how he has helped the people in need is a truly amazing achievement.

“I would like to congratulate him on that. He has shown to young people in particular there is a different way of dealing with life.

“He has shown great humility, he has shown courage to do what he did, so this achievement is well deserved and should be recognised with what he has done.

“So Marcus, well done on a fantastic achievement.”

Кирилл Венедиктов / Wikimedia

Marcus responded by thanking the legendary United manager, saying: “He has always, from the beginning really, backed me with what I am doing.

“Probably when other people in sports were telling me not to do it and just focus on football, he said if I believed in that, and I believe it is the right thing to do, then he is behind it.

“Those words from him are an amazing feeling to hear that.”

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