UK Govt to Fight COVID With Anti-Obesity Laws

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Overweight is a Major Factor in Pandemic ICU Use and Death Rates

WASHINGTON - eTradeWire -- Inspired by his own near brush with death from COVID-19, a risk exacerbated by his excess weight, Prime Minister Boris Johnson is rolling out a £10 anti-obesity program for the UK, including bans on TV commercials for junk foods, says public interest law professor John Banzhaf, who notes that the ban is similar to the one on cigarette commercials in the U.S. he is largely responsible for.

Johnson's "Better Health" campaign will also reportedly include a requirement - similar to a law in the U.S. - that restaurants, including fast food outlets, publish the number of calories in the meals they serve, reports Banzhaf, who helped spark the U.S. rule after bringing several fat law suits.

In addition to being a major factor in exploding the number of COVID-19 deaths and associated medical care costs, one study has reported that in the U.S. the "total cost of chronic diseases due to obesity and overweight was $1.72 trillion - equivalent to 9.3 percent of the U.S. gross domestic product [GDP]," although other estimates are somewhat less but still very high.

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Also, most of this huge and unnecessary expense is paid by people who are not obese, in the form of higher taxes for unnecessary medical expenses under Medicare, Medicaid, Obamacare, Veterans and Indian benefits, and other welfare programs, and in grossly inflated health insurance premiums.

A very recent study has proven how the U.S. can slash its obesity rate by taking the same simple steps which Chile took four years ago, and which other countries are beginning to follow.

The new policies - which are already being copied in part by Peru, Uruguay, Israel, Brazil, Mexico, and other countries - include:

* Raising the tax on sugary soft drinks
* Advertising restrictions on unhealthy foods,
* bans on unhealthy food commercials from 6AM to 10PM
* bold front-of-package black-box warning labels
* no more cartoons on sugary cereal boxes
* a ban on junk foods available in schools

If governments can require Americans to stay in their homes, shut many businesses, wear masks, and put huge numbers of people out of work to combat only one disease [COVID-19], logically they should be willing to take much less intrusive and only minimally disruptive steps to reduce it, as well as other major causes of unnecessary deaths, disability, and massive medical costs by reducing obesity; e.g., by steps such as limiting commercials, adding warning labels, banning cartoon figures, etc.

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Source: Public Interest Law Professor John Banzhaf
Filed Under: Food

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