Watch: Boris Johnson says he's 'living embodiment' of obesity risks during COVID pandemic
Johnson was speaking nine months after he nearly died from his COVID-19 symptoms.
After recovering, the prime minister said his brush with death was down to his poor health, which COVID exacerbated. “I was way overweight,” Johnson admitted in July. “I was too fat."
Being overweight or obese increases the likelihood of hospitalisation or death from coronavirus.
At Prime Minister’s Questions (PMQs) on Wednesday, Johnson again reflected on this after Tory backbencher Andrew Lewer urged the government not to "over-regulate” when it comes to food advertising. The government is currently consulting on plans to ban all junk food advertising online.
However, Johnson – who in previous years spoke out against over-regulation by governments – appeared to reject Lewer’s demands.
He said: “Indeed, and I remain a champion of liberty in all its aspects, but I am also the living embodiment of the risks of obesity.
“There was no question that it is a comorbidity factor in the pandemic.
“I think that is something that the people of this country understand. And they understand that it is all of our individual responsibility to do what we can to get healthy, to stay healthy – because that is one of the ways we can all help protect our NHS.”
The latest NHS statistics show the majority of adults in England are overweight or obese: 67% of men and 60% of women.
Johnson sought to lose weight as soon as he returned to work in late April.
It began with early morning walks around London’s St James’s Park, as captured by PA photographer Stefan Rousseau on 6 May (see above). By August, the PM had hired celebrity personal trainer Harry Jameson for fitness sessions.
In October last year, Johnson admitted: “We [Britain] are one of the greatest places on Earth but, alas, as a nation we are slightly too fat.
“We are fatter than virtually anybody else in Europe, apart from the Maltese for some reason, and we need to think about this.
“I don’t wish to cast any aspersions on my Maltese friends,” he added.
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