In a bid to tackle the ever growing issue of obesity throughout Britain, we have seen a brand new strategy unleashed which aims to help begin the nation’s weight loss.
The government have announced a new campaign titled ‘Better Health’. This has the goal of putting measures in place that will improve our health and wellbeing. It is hoped that this movement will create an environment that encourages our nation to embark on a more positive style of life.
The ‘Better Health’ campaign has been put in place during the global pandemic to loosen pressure on the NHS. In anticipation of a so-called second wave in England, the government are focusing on diverting all their attention to beating the COVID-19 virus, thus encouraging us all to look after our own health. Studies have shown obesity to be a factor that increases the chance of fatality by COVID-19, a finding central in making this a prominent campaign.
‘Better Health’ has an initial four step plan; with steps that, although are not expected to eradicate obesity, are stepping stones to help begin the process.
Adverts which feature products with a high sugar and fat content will no longer be able to run before 9pm. The first of the four steps is one which resembles very closely how the government dealt with the issue of cigarettes and is one which will hopefully be effective. However, like we’ve seen with cigarettes, it may take awhile before this effect is experienced widely. It’s worth noting that these products are still able to advertise on billboards, buses and social media.
The removal of BOGOF deals on products with high sugar and fat content. This step is one which is has long been awaited as the prices of these products are shockingly low compared to their healthy counterparts. For those from low socioeconomic backgrounds and those shopping on a budget, healthy foods are often out of their reach in terms of their price points. In the past, it has therefore been more appealing to purchase junk food.
A showcase of how many calories a product contains on restaurant menus, with the possibility of liquid calories to be shown on alcohol, depending on results.
Now this idea is one which is riddled in issues and problems, and one which is expected to have a much larger negative effect than positive. The government risk raising the amount of body dysmorphia cases substantially if they follow through on this initiative, as well as seeing cases of other mental health issues increase.
Calorie counting is a dangerous factor when it comes to eating habits. When taken to the extreme, it can lead to the development of disordered eating behaviours. It can cause the individual to enter a downward spiral as they become obsessed with the calories they consume. So this step is a double edged sword which desperately needs reconsidered.
A new campaign to help people lose weight and eat better. This step is extremely vague and doesn’t provide any solid ideas of what this may entail. It’s fairly difficult to comment on something doesn’t provide any strong intention on what may occur.
Now that these steps have been announced it, it is fair to say that despite some strong hiccups in their plans, these steps look optimistically to the future. The government should use this plan to begin a larger evolution of the look of the nation’s health and wellbeing. Now is the time to provide assistance to those lower income families by providing them with high quality products, filled with nutrients and crucial elements. Hopefully with this we can see fruit and veg decrease in price, to see them become more appealing. These are just two simple suggestions, but again this campaign is hopefully just the beginning.
Words by Paul Dawson
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