The Royal College of Physicians has warned there is an “urgent need” to address obesity levels in the UK after discovering that there is a clear link between obesity and higher COVID-19 death rates.
According to a report from the World Obesity Federation, 2.2 million of the 2.5 million COVID-19 deaths came from countries with high levels of obesity.
Among these countries were the UK, Italy and the US, where more than 50% of adults are overweight. Statistics published in January 2021 have revealed that around three-quarters of people aged 45-74 in England are overweight or obese.
The college’s lead advisor on obesity, Professor Rachel Batterham, said the relationship between obesity and deaths caused by COVID-19 was “indisputable”.
A new government initiative will inject £100m into supporting adults and families to maintain a healthy weight. More than £70m will be invested into weight management services, which will be made available through the NHS and local councils.
The investment will enable adults and families to access weight management groups, apps, coaches and clinical support to help them lose weight.
The move follows the “ineffective and largely unsuccessful” Better Health initiative by prime minister Boris Johnson that was made to encourage people to be more active and work to lose weight.
COVID-19 and bariatric surgery
The amount of weight loss procedures performed on the NHS has been in steep decline over the past decade. And while NHS resources have become more focused on cancer treatments and emergency care, this trend is likely to continue.
NHS waiting lists recently hit an all-time high as a result of the second wave of coronavirus, and new figures have revealed that there are now 4.6m people on the waiting list for care. In January 2021, over 300,000 people had been waiting for more than a year for treatment, compared to just 1,600 a year before.
There is no doubt that the damage caused by the pandemic will take some time to recover from. The criteria to be eligible for weight loss surgery on the NHS was already incredibly strict, and this could become stricter.
If you’re struggling to take control of your weight but are feeling anxious about growing waiting lists on the NHS, why not skip the queue with Healthier Weight? Our specialist team are here to help you find the surgical or non-surgical solution that’s right for you. Fill in the form below to get your quote.