Highlights: COVID-19 and Obesity

Image by Tania Dimas from Pixabay
  • The United Kingdom implemented a new strategy on July 27, 2020 about solving the problem of obesity.
  • The official press release heading shows a big bold font saying “Lose Weight to Beat COVID-19 and Protect the NHS”.
  • England saw the greatest rate of excess deaths in Europe for the first 4 months of the pandemic.
  • Obesity, along with diabetes and other chronic conditions, is recognized as a risk factor for severe outcomes of COVID-19.
  • The new obesity strategy intends to restrict promotions of not-so-healthy foods, improve the nutrition fact labeling of foods and drinks in restaurants and stores, and expand services about weight management.
  • The country seeks healthier nation as an ambition during and beyond COVID-19 pandemic.
  • However, at a time where our economies are fragile, bans on food promotions could also result in higher prices and growing inequalities which can contribute to obesity and poor health outcomes.
  • By targeting almost exclusively the causes of obesity, and only a small part of it, the new policies fail to take into account the intricacy of biological, societal, and psychological factors that underpin obesity
  • One of the most glaring examples of health promotion strategies that draws on guilt and shame is the suggestion that it is necessary to lose weight to “reduce pressure on doctors and nurses in the NHS, and free up their time to treat other sick and vulnerable patients”, communicated in the policy document
  • Past history shows that guilt and shame strategies are ineffective and even harmful.
  • The COVID-19 culture has become a blame culture.
  • The obesity rates in England are concerning.
  • Obesity is not the main culprit for the nation’s high COVID-19 death toll.
  • People with obesity are vulnerable patients too.



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