The Health Secretary has called for the nation to lose weight and save the NHS £100m.
Matt Hancock has explained that anyone who is clinically classed as overweight should lose at least five pounds to save lives and spare the NHS £100 million.
The latest government strategy comes after last week’s announcement about a ban on advertising of unhealthy food before the watershed.
Mr Hancock explains that coronavirus has been a ‘deadly wake-up call’ that Britain needs to tackle obesity.
Obesity in the UK has steadily been increasing since the early 1990s, with figures estimating this now stands at over 60% of the population.
The UK has one of the highest levels of obesity in Europe, with almost two-thirds of adults being overweight or obese in England – figures are similar for Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
One in three children in the UK are leaving primary school overweight while one in five are living with obesity, the government data explains.
Research by Public Health England reported that obesity increases the risk of serious illness or death from COVID-19.
Dr Alison Tedstone, Chief Nutritionist at Public Health England, said: “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.”
The government has outlined their policy, entitled ‘Tackling obesity: empowering adults and children to live healthier lives’ on their website, here.
It explains that ‘COVID-19 has given us a wake-up call’ and that we should use this ‘to kick start our health, get active and eat better.’
The ‘Better Health‘ campaign promotes evidence-based tools and apps with advice on how to lose weight and keep it off.
This will be supported by a 12-week weight loss plan app, ‘expansion’ of the NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme and ‘continued’ support for those that need to lose weight.
The policy also acknowledges that obesity is not just an individual’s effort, instead, it recognises the environment and subsequent information intake that navigate an individual’s choices.
For this, the government turns to nutritional labelling, acknowledging the seven years that have passed since the ‘traffic light’ scheme was first introduced.
The new legislation will require (large) cafes, takeaways and restaurants to provide calorie labels. They also intend to make companies provide calorie labelling on pre-packaged alcohol.
The policy also states that ‘the right information is important’ and looks to marketing tactics supermarkets use.
Research shows that 43% of food and drink products located in prominent areas, such as checkouts and aisle ends, are sugary – with less than one per cent being fruit and veg.
The government states they ‘will legislate to end promotion of HFSS products by volume’, for instance removing buy one get one free on high fat, salt and sugar (HFSS) items.
Similarly, to protect children, advertisements for HFSS products will be banned on TV before 9pm and consultations regarding online media will be taken.
Director of Public Affairs at the Advertising Association, Sue Eustace, said the ‘extreme’ and ‘unnecessary’ measures will have ‘little effect’ on reducing obesity.
Instead, she explains they will have ‘wide-ranging ramifications’ for food businesses and online publishers who are currently trying to recover from the pandemic and lockdown.
Writing in The Daily Telegraph, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: “This deadly virus has given us a wake-up call about the need to tackle the stark inequalities in our nation’s health, and obesity is an urgent example of this.
“If everyone who is overweight lost five pounds it could save the NHS more than £100 million over the next five years. And more importantly, given the link between obesity and coronavirus, losing weight could be life-saving.
“Obesity is one of the greatest long-term health challenges that we face as a country.”
Most health experts have welcomed the moves but state that the government need to go further in addressing the multiple factors that contribute to obesity.
For instance, Adam Briggs, of the Health Foundation think-tank, said economic and social factors such as poverty and unemployment ‘drive poor health and inequalities’.
He pointed out that public health budgets held by councils have been cut – falling year on year – by £700 million between 2014/15 to 2019/20.
However, Chief Nutritionist at Public Health England explained that the ‘bold measures’ will ‘save lives’.
Michelle Mitchell, Cancer Research UK’s chief executive, said: “This is a landmark day for the nation’s health.
“Being overweight or obese puts people at risk of many diseases, including 13 different types of cancer, and disproportionately affects people from poorer backgrounds so the plan will hugely help to level-up the country and build a healthier population.”
What do you think of the new changes? Let us know!
Woolworths possibly returning to British highstreet next year
Please be true.
A Twitter account called ‘UKWoolworths’ claims the much-loved chain will be making a comeback to the high street next year.
The account posted on Twitter to explain that three new trial stores will be opened late next year. They wrote: “Here to save 2020! Woolworths is coming back to your high street, as a physical store!
“A couple of legal things to get sorted, but we’re full steam ahead at Woolworths HQ.
“We want to get this right, so we need your help. What do you want at your UK #YourWoolworths?”
They went onto explain that they want fans to tell them exactly what they want from their local Woolies to make sure they get the reopening right.
They added: “Throughout this week, we’ll have announcements and chances to win gift cards for Woolworths and gift cards for other retailers on your high street. Welcome back to Woolworths!”
In response, one person wrote: “Apart from pick ‘n’ mix and the top 40 singles, cheap but good quality homeware like saucepans and picture frames and doormats and pillows. And sewing thread and needles. And shoe polish. And seeds and compost and plant pots. Everything Just what it was before, that’s all.”
Another said “I want pick n mix and lots of gift items”.
Another person added: “It’s got to be kid friendly. Easy access, wide aisles and full of stuff kids love. Comics, books, stationary, pic ‘n’ mix etc. Don’t try and stock a little bit of everything… Decide your market and stick to just that.”
However, not everyone is convinced the news is really true. One person wrote ‘obviously a hoax’ and another said the news is a ‘twisted and cruel PRANK’.
Another wrote ‘it’s a scam’ and a third added ‘it’s fake news’.
Do you hope the news is true or not?!
Scooters are now available in Salford for public use
Let’s hope this goes better than the Mobikes…
Salford City Council and the University of Salford are said to be thrilled to be trialling the new project.
The Department for Transport has opened the doors for cities, including Salford, to trial new schemes for renting e-scooters.
Previously banned in the UK, the introduction of e-scooters is to discourage workers from using their cars in cities.
Lime, the company behind the e-scooter trial, is a US-based company that currently already operates in London, Milton Keynes, Europe and of course the USA.
With great success in other cities, we can’t wait to see the scooters take off in Salford.
Costing £1 to unlock then an additional 15p per minute whilst you’re out and about. Each scooter is also fitted with an alarm which will activate if someone tried to move it without unlocking.
It’s important you remember to obey traffic laws, to ride safely in the bike lane or street and to wear a helmet.
Will you be trialing the new scooters? Let us know!
Manchester United set to deliver 5,000 free meals for local kids over half-term
Manchester United have announced they will be delivering 5,000 free meals to children over half-term.
Food provided by charity FareShare will be processed and packaged into individual meals at Old Trafford by United staff this week.
It will then be shipped out to local Manchester United Foundation partner schools.
The six schools involved include Waterhead Academy, Dean Trust Rose Bridge, The East Manchester Academy, Manchester Enterprise Academy, Manchester Academy, Stretford High School. Other charities will also receive some of the meals as part of the scheme.
It comes as United Striker, Marcus Rashford, campaigned to extend free meal provision until Easter 2021. MP’s voted against the action last week but are now facing a lot of pressure to reverse their decision.
A statement from the club reads: “Since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, more and more families are dealing with food poverty,”
“The impact of the virus has exacerbated an existing problem and, with unemployment rising and the economic crisis biting hard, many are struggling with reduced income.
“As a result, many families and children simply do not have enough food and are going hungry. This initiative does not solve the issue locally, but will make a significant difference to the lives of hundreds of families across Greater Manchester.”
John Shiels, the chief executive of the Manchester United Foundation, added: “We’re incredibly proud and humbled to be working with FareShare over October half-term.
“This initiative will go a long way to ensuring that pupils from our partner schools and families using local food-banks have fresh meals to eat, during what we know is a difficult time for many.
“We’ve seen first-hand how children from socially challenged backgrounds can be even more vulnerable when they’re not in school, it’s therefore imperative to be present in their lives throughout the school holidays, showing that we care and the Foundation is always here to support.”