People who are obese or overweight are at increased risk of death or severe illness from COVID-19, a report by Public Health England (PHE) said yesterday as the government prepares to introduce measures to confront the problem.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has pledged to tackle obesity while PHE said data showed that for people with a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 30-35, risk of death from COVID-19 increased by 40%, and it increased by 90% for those with a BMI over 40 compared to those of a healthy weight. People with a BMI of over 30 are classed as obese under the system. PHE said that almost 63% of adults in England are overweight or obese.
From recent research, it has been highlighted that African communities in particular, and BAME people in the UK, with a focus also on children, are severely negatively influenced by television and outdoor advertising which are a direct cause to obesity, and potentially to a COVID-19 death.
“The current evidence is clear that being overweight or obese puts you at greater risk of serious illness or death from COVID-19, as well as from many other life-threatening diseases,” said Alison Tedstone, chief nutritionist at PHE.
Susan Jebb, Professor of Diet and Population Health at the University of Oxford said she would be pleased to see the government acknowledge the extent of the public health crisis Britain faces when it comes to tackling obesity.
Certainly, living in a globalized and high-tech interconnected world also includes having a growing preponderance of junk food advertising compared to the totality of the advertising to which we are exposed. This phenomenon could be enough to make consumers and even governments more aware of this important issue that may affect the health of everyone, especially minorities groups, however, it is not the case.
Clearly, the effects of food advertising on people choices and eating habits are often underestimated by the government in the UK. This undoubtedly poses a growing health risk given the sheer increase of its volume in today's national economy. Geographically speaking, at present the UK seems to be suffering from one of the highest obesity rates in the world, placing itself on the first position for the most obese country In Western Europe.
To maximize profits and sales, in some cases, companies target their products to the right kind of consumers on ethnic bases, so regulating for the government the advertisement world can be a start to tackle obesity, and therefore, the related risks of getting coronavirus.