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Adults in Cornwall 'among most overweight' in the south west

Adults in Cornwall 'among most overweight' in the south west

Published by Sarah Yeoman at 10:00am 2nd August 2020.

Adults in Cornwall are among the most overweight in the South West, figures reveal, as the government launches a strategy to slim down the nation’s waistlines.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson – who says he struggles with his own weight – has announced a range of measures to help people shed the pounds, including a ban on some junk food promotions and stricter advertising controls.

It comes after a Public Health England report found being overweight or obese can dramatically increase the risk of being admitted to hospital or dying from Covid-19.

Doctors, charities and campaign groups have welcomed the plans, but some say they don’t go far enough.

PHE figures show 65% of adults in Cornwall were classed as overweight or obese in 2018-19, the latest period for which data is available.

This was among the highest proportions in the region, where the average stood at 61%. It was also slightly higher than the England average of 62%.

scales obesity weight fat

Professor Dame Parveen Kumar, board of science chairwoman at the British Medical Association, said obesity can have a “devastating” impact on people’s health, including the increased risk from the coronavirus.

“As the Government’s new strategy recognises, this has been a real wake-up call for the nation, and it’s imperative that we use this opportunity to make changes for good, not only for society today, but also for generations to come.”

Professor Dame Parveen Kumar, British Medical Association 

“We are delighted that the Government has finally recognised that these huge food and drink companies have not been acting in our best interests when they advertise and discount their heavily processed, high in fat, salt and sugar, food and drinks.”

Katharine Jenner, campaign director at charity Action on Sugar and Action on Salt

But she said it was a “missed opportunity” not to introduce mandatory targets on removing sugar and salt calories from products and that it was “absurd” the soft drinks levy – a tax on soft drinks – was not extended to other sugary edibles.

doctor health

Separate PHE figures show that 25% of children aged four to five years old in Cornwall were overweight or obese in the 2018-19 academic year.

This rose to 30% for those in Year 6 – the final year of primary school.

The Prime Minister’s obesity strategy includes:

  • Barring shops from pushing “buy one, get one free” promotions on unhealthy products
  • Ending junk food adverts on television and online before the 9pm watershed
  • Forcing restaurants and takeaways with more than 250 employees to add calorie labels to menus
  • Expanding NHS weight management services and its Diabetes Prevention Programme

Mr Johnson said: “Losing weight is hard but with some small changes we can all feel fitter and healthier.

“If we all do our bit, we can reduce our health risks and protect ourselves against coronavirus – as well as taking pressure off the NHS.”

You can find all the source data here.

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