Watch: Boris Johnson: 'I'm doing all I can to lose weight'
The prime minister has announced a £100 million package to help drive down levels of obesity after a report found it puts people at a higher risk of dying from COVID.
Last year, Johnson was severely ill in hospital after he tested positive for coronavirus and now he has vowed to help the public get “fitter and healthier” in an attempt to drive down the risks of COVID.
Opening up about his weight loss regimen, Johnson said he has been eating fewer carbohydrates, avoiding chocolate and “no more late-night cheese”, coupled with early morning runs.
In a video posted to Twitter, Johnson said: “I’ve been doing a lot, in fact, everything I can, to lose weight and to feel fitter and healthier.
“The result is I actually have lost some weight, quite a lot by my standards, and I feel much more energetic, I feel full of beans and I thoroughly, thoroughly recommend it.
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“I know there are many people in the same sort of position as I am, and I was, who want to lose weight. That’s why we’re investing now in that whole national objective.”
Johnson also confirmed the government is looking at “various kinds” of Fit-Miles schemes – which could see overweight people paid to exercise in efforts to drive down levels of obesity.
More than £70 million of the government’s funding will be invested in weight management services – made available through the NHS and councils – enabling up to 700,000 adults to access support that can help them lose weight.
The remaining £30 million will fund initiatives to help people maintain a healthy weight, including the Better Health campaign, behavioural weight management services and upskilling health workers in “early years services”.
Johnson announced the £100 million has been ring-fenced to help people lose weight, which will also make it easier for people to access GP appointments and useful apps.
The fitness drive was announced as the UK faced criticism over its high levels of both obesity and COVID deaths.
About 63% of adults in England are overweight or obese and one in three children starting secondary school are considered overweight.
In a report, the World Obesity Federation has claimed that hundreds of thousands of COVID deaths could have been avoided if the obesity epidemic had been tackled.
The report, which has analysed obesity rates in countries around the world as well as COVID deaths, also says that the death rate is 10 times higher in countries where 50% or more of the population is overweight.
The authors said that 2.2 million of the 2.5 million global deaths were in countries with high levels of obesity.
They added that countries with low levels of obesity do not have high death rates, but other factors could also be at play.
The World Health Organization said the report should act as a “wake-up call” for governments to tackle their obesity problems.
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