British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is set to declare a war on fat

Date Added: May 16, 2020 05:22:39 AM
Author: Sutra Web Directory
Category: Regional: United Kingdom

Boris Johnson is planning a war on obesity after deciding his own touch-and-go battle with coronavirus was exacerbated by him being overweight.

The PM is ready to ditch long-standing opposition to 'nanny state' policies and launch a crackdown on the nation's bulging waistlines after coronavirus is defeated.  

He's told senior advisers that the experience - which he famously said 'could have gone either way' - has left him determined to lead a public health drive.

Being obese doubles the risk of needing hospital treatment for coronavirus, research shows.

And with one in three British adults now clinically obese, the UK has one of the highest rates in the world.

According to The Times, Mr Johnson told some of his colleagues 'it's all right for you thinnies' as he discussed the danger being overweight presents for Covid patients.

His own weight was 17-and-a-half stone before he went into hospital, putting his BMI at 36 when his 5ft9in height is taken into account and placing him over the BMI of 30 that means a person is obese.

The Prime Minister is determined to use the coronavirus pandemic to get people to be healthier and is said to be 'obsessed' with getting people to cycle to work.

His swing toward interventionism follows a long-standing opposition to 'nanny state' measures and scepticism about the sugar tax, which he pledged to review, among other 'sin taxes'.

It put him at odds with Health Secretary Matt Hancock, who firmly believes that the sugar tax - brought in back in April 2018 - has been a 'total triumph'.

A major study in Glasgow last week found obesity may double the risk of needing hospitalisation for COVID-19.

And Oxford University research has found those who are morbidly obese are three times as likely to die of coronavirus.

The news came after official figures revealed one-in-four UK coronavirus fatalities had diabetes – a condition often linked to obesity.

For the first time, NHS England published a breakdown of deaths by pre-existing conditions. Only five per cent of victims didn't have an underlying issue.

Of the 22,332 patients who died since March 31, when pre-existing conditions began to be reported, some 5,873 (26 per cent) of patients had diabetes.

The condition - affecting around four million Britons - makes people more susceptible to developing infections.

High blood sugar levels can weaken the patient's immune system defence, making it slower to respond to viruses such as coronavirus.

It's also closely connected with obesity, which has been recognised as potential risk factors for suffering severe COVID-19 complications.

Doctors said diabetics would have better COVID-19 outcomes if they managed their condition properly.

The Government's official death tally shows that 33,614 people have died of COVID-19 in the UK, including 24,100 in hospitals in England.

Diabetes is a common condition affecting an estimated one in 16 people in the UK. That includes both diagnosed and undiagnosed people.

Dr Hajira Dambha-Miller, a GP and specialist in diabetes, said she was not surprised by the data.

She told MailOnline: 'People with diabetes are more susceptible to infections, even if we are not in the middle of a pandemic.

'Diabetes leads to greater susceptibility to infection because there is more sugar for bugs to grow on and chronic inflammation means the immune system is slower to clear it.'

Dr Dambha-Miller said when someone has diabetes, their blood becomes 'like treacle' as a result of high sugar levels.

'Physically, it's harder for the immune system to get to the virus,' she said. 'The virus bugs do a lot of damage before the immune system even realises it's there.

'When the body does kick in, it won't work as it should do. The immune cells are damaged because they've been saturated in sugar for years and don't work the way they should.'

Meanwhile as the Government promised to ease the UK lockdown, the Prime Minister is also said to be keen on focusing on moving into a recovery phase for the UK and delivering manifesto promises.

He highlighted pledges such as introducing 20,000 more police officers and building 40 hospitals.

'He was optimistic and focused on the future, on getting back to the levelling up agenda,' a source told The Times.