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Covid Crisis leaves Boris No Option but To Finally Tackle Our Obesity Crisis

Britain was found to have the third highest death rate in the world, and the fourth highest obesity rate.

The latest statistics are shocking! A mind blowing report from the World Obesity Federation shows that 90% of global deaths happened in countries with high obesity levels. The average death rates in countries with high obesity levels were almost ten times higher than those without an overweight population.

Yet, not a single country with low levels of obesity (less than 50% of the population being overweight) had more than 10 deaths per 100,000 people!

For example, Vietnam. They have the lowest overweight population in the world and the second lowest Covid death rates- just 35 deaths! Then lets take a look at the UK… we have the third highest death rate at over 120,000 and the fourth highest obesity rate in the world.

The correlation couldn’t be clearer, and the failure to keep public policy promises on tackling obesity has cost many thousands of lives. What’s the main cause of Covid deaths? Old age. This is clearly not avoidable, but having an overweight and obese population is most definitely avoidable!

How do you explain to grieving families and people who have lost everything to this pandemic that it could have been avoided? Much of the death toll, the ongoing lockdowns and the economic crises were avoidable and yet our government doesn’t learn?

For many years now, our governments have blamed obesity on personal responsibility, and made minimal effort to turn it around. But tackling an epidemic is a lot more complicated than just telling people to eat less and move more, it requires major changes to be made. Sadly, the people that suffer most from obesity are also the victims to deprivation, affordability of food, genetic and mental health factors, lack of healthy food choices and lack of nutrition education.

Ultra processed food has become more and more prominent on supermarket shelves over the years, foods more calorie-dense, more affordable and seen in the media. It comes as no surprise that obesity is fuelled by these food environment changes.

There are many people like me who have been challenging this epidemic; Dr Aseem Malhotra, Ivor Cummins and Professor Tim Noakes have been the driving force. Yet, Boris Johnson and his advisers underestimated how much needs to change, even after his COVID-19 scare. If there were a simple solution, we wouldn’t have such an entrenched global problem: we need a comprehensive, joined-up solution that cuts across government departments and brings communities, families, and all political parties on board.