Campaigners have called on Boris Johnson to put new taxes on unhealthy food, as part of a rumoured new crackdown by the PM on obesity.
Johnson was reported earlier this month to be planning a new blitz on health, following his experience with the coronavirus and fears that being overweight can double the risk of being admitted to intensive care.
Government plans including new targets on salt and calories, a clampdown on HFSS promotions and restrictions on advertising of junk food have, however, been put on hold during the crisis.
Today Action on Sugar and Action on Salt called for a raft of measures as part of a review analysing how factors including obesity, ethnicity, income and gender can affect the impact of the coronavirus on people’s health.
Among measures it calls for is a ban on advertising of all unhealthy products and fiscal measures to promote healthy food. It suggests income should be ringfenced to subsidise treatments, as well as mandatory nutrition labelling.
“With data showing that 78% of coronavirus infections and 62% of hospital deaths occur in overweight or obese individuals the government has a moral duty to intervene,” said chairman of Action on Sugar Graham MacGregor.
He added: “Obesity is also the main underlining cause of type 2 diabetes, which in itself is another potentially modifiable risk factor for more severe Covid-19.
“However, long-planned and awaited governmental measures to address this have been unbelievably put on hold due to the Covid-19 outbreak, at a time when they have never been more necessary.”