The UK government has today published its plans to tackle obesity and “empower adults and children to live healthier lives” post-COVID.
Under this new strategy, the government intends to ban advertisements of High Fat, Salt or Sugar (HFSS) products on television and online before 9pm, end the promotion of HFSS products in stores – including some half price offers, ‘buy one get one free’ offers and unhealthy snacks located at tills/checkouts – and ask restaurants, cafes and bars to disclose calorific content on on menus.
Changes will also be made to the ‘traffic light’ food labelling system.
The plans form part of the #BetterHealth campaign, of which COVID-19 has provided a “wake-up call” for.
Tackling obesity has been identified by the government as “one of the greatest long-term health challenges this country faces”.
According to government data, two-thirds (63%) of UK adults are above a healthy weight, with 36% overweight and 28% obese, one in three children aged 10 to 11 are overweight or obese, and children living with obesity are five times more likely to become obese adults.
In the plans – published via the gov.uk website this morning – the government stated that: “Our country’s rates of obesity are storing up future problems for individuals and our NHS, but worryingly, there is now consistent evidence that people who are overweight or living with obesity who contract coronavirus (COVID-19) are more likely to be admitted to hospital, to an intensive care unit and, sadly to die from COVID-19 compared to those of a healthy body weight status.”
“Obesity has become an immediate concern for anyone who is overweight and for our health and care services.”
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said the plans would help “reduce our health risks and protect ourselves against coronavirus” and has admitted himself to losing around a stone since recovering from his admission to hospital with COVID-19 in April.
Writing in The Daily Telegraph today, Health Secretary Matt Hancock also added that: “This deadly virus has given us a wake-up call about the need to tackle the stark inequalities in our nation’s health,”
“Obesity is an urgent example of this.”
“If everyone who is overweight lost five pounds it could save the NHS more than £100 million over the next five years. And more importantly, given the link between obesity and coronavirus, losing weight could be life-saving.”
Along with the ban on TV and online adverts before the watershed, the government said it would hold a consultation on whether to stop fast food adverts online altogether.
Labelling of calories on menus will apply to any restaurant, cafe or takeaway chain with more than 250 employees, and another new consultation will be launched around plans to provide the same information for alcoholic drinks.
The government is aiming to fully implement each of these measures before the end of 2022.
More information on today’s announcements can be found via the Department of Health and Social Care on Twitter here, and you can read the full plans for the #BetterHealth campaign via the gov.uk website here.
Lee Rigby’s son is raising tens of thousands for charity in honour of his dad
Jack Rigby, the son of soldier Lee Rigby, is raising an absolutely huge amount of money for charity in memory of his father.
Rigby, a former Royal Fusilier who served in Afghanistan for three years, was tragically murdered by extremists Michael Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale outside the Woolwich Barracks in May 2013 and now, over a decade after his death, his son is hoping to raise as much as possible in his honour.
His dad was 25 when he was killed and Jack himself was only two-years-old at the time. Now 13, the inspiring young man set out on his fundraising journey earlier this year, completing a marathon on behalf of Scotty’s Little Soldiers back in May, a military bereavement charity.
Setting himself the goal of reaching the ‘Scotty’s March’ £10k target — i.e. hoping to raise a £1,000 for each year since his passing — Jack and his family have been blown after the fundraiser has already amassed over £55k in donations.
With the goalposts now being moved to £60,000 after Jack and his mum Rebecca’s efforts have led to nearly £55k in contributions to the specialised bereavement organisation to support grieving military children and young people up to the age of 25.
Writing in his post when the fundraiser was first set up, Jack said, “This year marked the 10-year anniversary, it’s never easy but this year felt even harder for some reason. To help me through this year I have been concentrating on raising funds and awareness for Scotty’s Little Soldiers…
“This [has] really helped me to concentrate on something positive at a very difficult time while helping this amazing charity“, an intitiave he has been a part ever since he was a young child, adding that he named his dog Scotty in tribute to their important work for military families across the UK.
It was only earlier this year that the teenager spoke out about his father for the first time having already smashed his fundraising target before he had even run his marathon.
As for mum, she said: “Jack was so excited to see the amount grow and seeing how much each donation made him smile meant the world to me. He and I read all the messages of support and were thankful for them all. We honestly couldn’t believe how kind and generous people were being.”
Featured Image — Gov.uk/Jack Rigby (via Scotty’s Little Soldiers)
Greater Manchester’s volunteer police officers are now trained to deal with ‘high tension’ events
Dozens of volunteer police officers across Greater Manchester are now being given public order training to deal with “high tension” events.
In case you aren’t too familiar, Public Order Public Safety (POPS) is an arm of policing that covers a wide range of events and operations that could present instances of high or increased tension, according to Greater Manchester Police (GMP).
Some events of this nature include protests, festivals, sporting events, and disorder – basically, anywhere where there may be a risk to public safety.
In order to make sure there’s more hands on deck when these situations arise, GMP has now confirmed that it’s beginning the process of training up its volunteer workforce – formally known as Police Specials, of which there are currently about 200 employed to work 16-hours each month – to be able to work such events.
This is so they know how to correctly handle and manage potentially tension-filled situations.
GMP says that around 30 Police Specials completed their level two training over four days at the police force’s specialist training centre in Openshaw this week.
This means they can now be deployed at high-profile events.
Chief Superintendent Chris Hill, who is the strategic lead at GMP, say Police Specials play an “important role” for the police force, as they often join response teams or are put to good use by providing a link between local Greater Manchester communities and GMP.
“Special constables have the same powers and look the same as regular officers,” CS Hill explained, “but the difference is they are volunteers and can have regular jobs as well.
“The specials that completed the training are now highly-trained in tactics, as well as how to use equipment including helmets and shields, and can be deployed to high-profile football matches and events or demonstrations where there is an increase in tension.
“We hope this will make joining GMP as a special a more interesting and exciting prospect.”
Mike Walmsley, who is GMP’s Chief Officer and oversees the Special Constabulary, added how great it is to see a “continued investment” in the special constables.
He continued: “Having a team trained to public order level two allows us to further support our colleagues.
“[It will also] unlock more of the potential that the Special Constabulary has.
“We have already started to map out structured learning and supplied them with laptops and, coupled with further opportunities, this will allow our officers to develop further and support in existing and new areas.”