Prime Minister Boris Johnson wants Britons to lose weight, but some say his Better Health campaign may hurt people living with eating disorders. Nearly one-third of adults in Britain are obese, including Johnson, who said his obesity contributed to COVID-19 complications in April. “I was too fat,” he said, according to CNN.
According to Medical News Today, a definitive study conducted in France, found that obese patients with COVID-19 were more likely to require invasive mechanical ventilation. The lead author, Dr. Norbert Stefan, told Medical News Today:
“We concluded that obesity may put people infected with the novel coronavirus at a very high risk for a more severe COVID-19 illness and possibly risk of death.”
But Johnson’s new strategy to make Britain leaner has upset those struggling with eating disorders. According to Beat, an estimated 1.25 million people in the U.K. have an eating disorder. The concern is that putting calorie counts on restaurant menu items, one of Johnson’s proposals, will trigger anxiety in sufferers.
“Eating disorders are a massive problem in this country,” said MP Wera Hobhouse, who is the chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Eating Disorders. “Making restaurants disclose the calorie count of a meal—that could be very damaging for people in recovery.”
Johnson also banned the airing of junk food commercials on television and online before 9 P.M. starting in the year 2022.
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