MP COLUMN: We have been calling for a national strategy to tackle obesity

Far too many of us are carrying far too much weight, and that includes me.

Friday, 31st July 2020, 6:00 am
Mary Glindon, North Tyneside MP.

Becoming less fat and more fit has become even more essential in the age of Covid.

Our extra fat makes it harder to recover if we’re unlucky enough to be struck down with the virus.

We know that this made it tougher for the Prime Minister and that helps explain why there is now a greater national effort to tackle obesity.

This is very welcome, at last. For some time, I have chaired an all-party parliamentary group on obesity.

We have been calling for a national strategy to tackle obesity and some of what we and our expert advisers advocated has now been adopted by the government.

The government is introducing a 9pm watershed on junk food ads and a public health campaign to encourage healthy choices.

GPs can also refer patients to weight management services, which will expand.

Such strategies can be so much pie in the sky, so to speak, if they aren’t connected in practice.

If GPs can prescribe cycling, we need safer and less congested roads. Asking people to eat more healthily requires affordable and accessible foodstuffs.

Eating less and moving more is not easy for some obese people.

There is a balance between encouraging healthier lifestyles and stigmatising those who find it difficult.

But we should grab the opportunity as much as we all can to get fitter and also protect the NHS.

Mary Glindon, North Tyneside MP