Britain on Monday announced plans to tackle the “obesity time bomb,” with a potpourri of measures, including ban on adverts for junk food before 9pm.
Other measures are the cancellation of “buy one get one free” deals on such foods and flagging calories on menus of large restaurants.
In addition government will arrange a consultation about displaying calories on alcohol.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who has lost weight since he was in COVID-19 intensive care, wants to tackle obesity after studies showed that obesity can increase the risk of coronavirus disease and related deaths.
The British are far fatter than other Europeans, except the Maltese, he said last month, adding that his government described “tackling the obesity time bomb” as a priority.
“Losing weight is hard but with some small changes we can all feel fitter and healthier,” Johnson said in a video statement.
“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 (National Health Service),” he added.
Johnson has a reputation as a bon viveur, who in the past has spoken of enjoying an expensive bottle of red wine and late-night binges on chorizo and cheese.
But he has also championed cycling to work and introduced so-called “Boris bikes” in London for public use when mayor of the capital.
“I’ve always wanted to lose weight for ages and ages and like many people I struggle with my weight, I go up and down. But since I recovered from coronavirus I have been steadily building up my fitness,” he said in a Twitter video on Monday.
“When I went into ICU (intensive care) when I was really ill, I was way overweight … and, you know, I was too fat,” he added, describing his new regime as a gentle run in the morning which gives him more energy during the day.
Johnson, who has often mocked state “nannying”, said he hoped the new health campaign was not “excessively bossy” but rather a gentle nudge for Britain to get fitter.
With more than 60% of adults in Britain considered overweight or obese, according to Public Health England, a “Better Health” campaign will be introduced with weight management services expanded in the National Health Service.