The British Government has unveiled new measures to combat obesity in the wake of it being identified as a key contributory factor in the impact of COVID-19.
New laws will ban the advertising of food high in fat, sugar or salt (HFSS) on television and online before 9 pm when children are most likely to see them.
Analysis published by Cancer Research UK from September 2019 showed that almost half (47.6%) of all food adverts shown over the month on ITV1, Channel 4, Channel 5 and Sky1 were for products high in fat, sugar and salt.
This rose to almost 60% during the 6 pm to 9 pm slot – the time slot where children’s viewing peaks.
The new legislation will also restrict the promotion of foods high in fat, and sugar, such as ‘buy one get one free’ offers, as well as a ban on these items being placed in prominent locations in stores, such as at checkouts and entrances, and online.
A survey from 2018 shows that around 43% of all food and drink products located in prominent areas were for sugary foods and drinks, compared to just 1% for healthy items. Shops will be encouraged to promote healthier choices and offer more discounts on food like fruit and vegetables
There will also be changes to the ways in which restaurants and alcohol companies have to display calorie information on menus and products.
The HSE in Ireland has aspect substantially on public health information around the importance of measures to combat the spread of COVID-19.
It will now be interesting to see how the attention might turn towards the longer-term changes that will need to be made to lessen the impact of potential future outbreaks.
Putting sport and physical activity at the heart of a newly invigorated push towards a healthier population will be important.
The campaign has been launched this morning and Boris Johnson will be formally putting his weight behind it later today, emphasising how his own weight was a factor in how badly he was impacted by contracting the virus.