With many of us kicking off the new year by making resolutions to get fitter and healthier, the government has launched a marketing campaign to highlight the benefits of losing weight.
Given the ongoing spread of omicron, the campaign by Better Health and the Department of Health and Social Care is also emphasising how, alongside vaccination, losing weight can be a key way to reduce the risk of becoming seriously ill from Covid-19.
Better Health is the NHS campaign designed to encourage healthier lifestyle habits and behaviours and, for the purposes of this campaign, is working in partnership with 16 weight management and physical activity partners.
It was estimated by the Health Survey for England 2019 that more than three in five adults are at an increased risk from serious diseases as a result of being overweight.
According to the National Institute for Health Research, losing 5% of body weight can seriously reduce the chance of heart disease and can make a big difference in preventing treatable heart conditions.
Obesity and Covid-19
As our understanding of Covid-19 has developed through the pandemic, it has also been recognised that being obese or overweight can lead to more severe illness from the virus and poorer health outcomes. This, in turn, prompted the goverment in 2020 to launch an obesity strategy to try to encourage and sustain weight loss.
The latest campaign is highlighting six benefits that could have a lasting impact on a person’s health by being a healthier weight:
- Decreased risk of common cancers (colon, liver, pancreas, kidney)
- Lowered risk of increased blood pressure
- Reduced risk of heart disease
- Less risk of developing diabetes
- Less strain from chronic back and joint pain
- Decreased risk of being hospitalised or becoming seriously ill with Covid-19.
The campaign partners (see end of the article for the full list) will be providing free and discounted offers, while the Better Health website will signpost to local weight management support.
On top of this, a full body x-ray animation has been developed to show the six key health risks and how losing weight can reduce them.
Better Health will also be promoting free NHS-endorsed apps, resources and online tools to help people introduce simple changes, including the NHS Weight Loss Plan, Couch to 5K and Active 10 apps.
Public health minister Maggie Throup said: “January is a great time of the year for making resolutions and I hope that people can use this as a kick-start moment to be more active and eat healthier – especially when losing body weight can have such a positive impact on our health, including reducing the chance of becoming seriously ill with Covid-19.”
The 16 partners for the campaign are, for physical activity: Our Parks, Sport England, Better Leisure Centres, InstructorLive, Anytime Fitness, Pure Gym, Her Spirit. Then, for weight management activity: Slimming World, GetSlim, MAN v FAT Football, WW – Weight Watchers, Second Nature, Healthier for Life, EFL Trust FIT Fans and Noom Weight.