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The end of ‘BOGOF’ on unhealthy food?

Elizabeth Cromwell


Picture of an unhealthy looking beef burger

Many of us indulge in unhealthy food/snacks on a daily basis. They’re accessible, taste good, and they’re so cheap! So, what does the new Better Health Campaign targeted at obesity mean?

The first thing to note is that junk food adverts will be banned on TV before 9pm. Younger children are impressionable, and repeatedly showing them an advert for something makes them want it. Broadcasting these adverts after the watershed, when many children are in bed, means they won’t see them. 

There are several studies that show how obesity can start at a young age; minimising the advertising of junk food to the younger generation could help reduce the number of overweight children.

Chart showing different obesity levels

Chart showing different obesity levels

The plan restricts where unhealthy foods, i.e. those high in fat and sugar, can be promoted within supermarkets. It also stipulates that restaurants should display the calories of meals on their respective menus. Knowing how many calories are in our favourite meals and treats will help keep the country on track with their weight - if we consume more calories than we burn during the day, it’s inevitable that we will put on weight. However, if we do the opposite, we should lose weight.

How often, when queuing to be served in the supermarket, have you seen the chocolate bars next to the checkout and thought, ‘Oh, go on then, just one’? If Boris goes ahead with his campaign, it could be the end of last-minute unhealthy purchases.

Boris Johnson said these new plans will help ‘reduce our health risks and protect ourselves against coronavirus’. The campaign comes into play after government statistics showed that nearly 8% of critically ill patients in intensive care units with coronavirus are morbidly obese, compared with 2.9% of the general population.

Boris Johnson's own experience in intensive care after contracting COVID-19 is thought to have changed his stance on the country's weight. He wrote in the Daily Express, ‘We all put things off - I know I have. I've wanted to lose weight for ages, and, like many people, I struggle with my weight. I go up and down, but during the whole coronavirus epidemic and when I got it too, I realised how important it is not to be overweight.’

What are your thoughts on the government's latest campaign? Tweet us at @intheknowemag.

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