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!
‘Inspirational’ teacher with no underlying health conditions sadly dies from coronavirus
RIP Donna Coleman
A 42-year-old teacher with no underlying health conditions has sadly died from coronavirus.
Donna Coleman, described as an ‘inspirational’ teacher, returned to her role at Burnley College when schools reopened even though she told her family she was ‘scared’.
Mourners lined the streets this week to pay their respects to the much-loved teacher, with tributes pouring in. One emotional message simply read: “This lady changed my son’s life.”
Donna admitted to her family that she ‘didn’t feel safe’, but she wanted to go back to the job ‘she loved’.
Now her sister Vicki, 45, has called for teachers to be given vaccine priority to protect them, telling the Mirror that the government needs to do more to help keep them safe.
She said: “We need teachers to be vaccinated as soon as possible… Donna told me in September that she was scared.
“Don’t get me wrong, she wanted to go back – she loved her job – but she said staff members were terrified.”
After she began to suffer from breathing problems on December 29th, Donna was rushed into Blackburn Royal Hospital, where she messaged Vicki on New Year’s Day.
She promised to FaceTime her sister the next day, but didn’t manage the call, as by this point she was already on a ventilator despite having no underlying conditions.
Vicki added: “She had messaged friends asking them to look after her family, so she must have been scared.
“My dad and sister went to see her and came back home looking shocked, saying, ‘she’s not coming out of this.’
“I went the next day, I held her hand, I said goodbye. That wasn’t Donna, she wasn’t there, she’d gone.”
Sadly, Vicki says she doesn’t think ‘we’d be having this conversation’ if schools and colleges had closed earlier.
A JustGiving page has been created in Donna’s memory, and has already smashed its target of £1,000, having raised more than £10.5k at the time of writing – you can donate here.
Our thoughts are with Donna’s family at this difficult time
Police to issue £800 fines to anyone attending house parties of more than 15 people
“Next week we will be introducing a new £800 fine for those attending house parties”
From next week anyone attending an illegal gathering of more than 15 people risks being hit with a £800 fine.
Priti Patel has given police the power to dish out new £800 fines to anyone who either organises or attends a large house party or other gathering.
The home secretary announced the new measures yesterday at a Downing Street press conference, with the fines going up to a maximum of £6,400 for repeat offences.
She said: “Next week we will be introducing a new £800 fine for those attending house parties, which will double for each repeat offence up to a maximum level of £6,400.
“These fines will apply to those who attend illegal gatherings of more than 15 people in homes.
“The science is clear. Such irresponsible behaviour poses a significant risk to public health, not only to those in attendance but also to our wonderful police officers who attend these events to shut them down.”
Martin Hewitt, the chairman of the National Police Chiefs’ Council, also spoke at the press conference, where he said the new announcement was welcome news.
He said: “We have repeatedly made it clear that house parties and other large gatherings should not be happening.
“They are dangerous, irresponsible and totally unacceptable.
“I hope the likelihood of an increased fine acts as an incentive for those people who are thinking of attending or organising such events.”
According to Mr Hewitt, 250 fines of £10,000 have been dished out across England to people who have organised large gatherings since August.
He added: “I make no apology for those fines… Now anyone who attends one of these gatherings can expect to receive a £800 fine”.
Mum-of-two raffles off stunning £600k five-bedroom house and Ferrari for just £2
Wait until you see inside the stunning house
After spending nearly a year locked down in our homes due to the coronavirus pandemic, we’ve all thought about moving house at some point, just for a change of scenery.
Well, if you are thinking about moving somewhere a bit bigger, then we’ve got just the thing for you – a stunning £590,000 bespoke five-bedroom house.
And in even better news, you could grab this beautiful house for just £2, as owners Jennifer and David Matthews are raffling off the property, and are throwing in their Ferrari as well.
The couple built Bramble Lodge – which is located between Bolton and Chorley, near to Adlington – from scratch eight years ago, but now want to sell up and move on.
They came to the difficult decision of selling their ‘dream home’ as they need a more manageable property to clean and run, because of Jennifer’s health condition.
Known as Ventricular tachycardia, it’s an incurable heart condition that causes a fast, abnormal heart rate, and means the mum-of-two could die at any moment.
However, the coronavirus crisis has made it very difficult to sell the property, which is why they decided to try their luck on popular raffle site Raffall.
This is good news for anyone dreaming of moving into a huge, new family home, as the keys to the five-bedroom detached house – which is worth over half a million and is located in a sought-after postcode – could be yours for as little as £2.
Bramble Lodge is set in its own grounds, hidden away behind a dry stone wall with electric gates for maximum privacy and security, and surrounded by stunning gardens, complete with trees and even a swing.
There’s lots of parking space, with the large drive able to accommodate four cars, which will include the 2004 Ferrari 360 Spider that you claim alongside the house if you win.
Once inside, there are three beautiful reception rooms and a huge kitchen area with a breakfast bar and an even an Aga.
Head up the elegant spiral staircase to five double sized bedrooms, including one with an en-suite and slipper bath. The second bedroom has a stunning feature window with the staircase to the kitchen area.
The area – once home to Ryan Giggs – boasts outstanding primary schools, a nearby train station with trains to Manchester, has good motorway links, and is also close to the award-winning The Cherry Tree at Blackrod.
The Matthews need to sell all the tickets on Raffall by February 14th, or the raffle will end before that if the last ticket sells before that date.
The lucky winner will be chosen at random, so make sure you grab your ticket or tickets ASAP, as they’re sure to sell quickly.
You can find out more and grab a ticket on the Raffall site here – good luck!