Boris Johnson says he's 'living embodiment' of obesity risks during COVID pandemic

·Senior news reporter, Yahoo News UK
·2 min read

Watch: Boris Johnson says he's 'living embodiment' of obesity risks during COVID pandemic

Boris Johnson has said he is the “living embodiment” of the risks of being obese as he once again called for people to take responsibility for their health during the coronavirus 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.

THAME, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 02: Boris Johnson runs near his home on October 2, 2018 in Thame, England. The former Foreign Secretary is due to talk at a fringe event at the 2018 Conservative Party Conference later today amid speculation that he intends to launch a leadership bid. This year, the Conservative Party Conference is being held against a backdrop of party division on Brexit. The Prime Minister is pushing ahead with her unpopular Chequers Deal which promises a softer Brexit creating a free trade area with the EU enabling frictionless access for goods and avoids the need for a hard border between Northern Ireland in Ireland. This plan has divided the Conservative party. (Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images)
Boris Johnson, pictured running in 2018, has sought to lose weight since nearly dying from COVID-19. (Getty Images)

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.

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“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.

File photo dated 06/05/2020 of Prime Minister Boris Johnson taking a morning walk in St James's Park in London before returning to Downing Street. December 13th 2020 marks the first anniversary of Mr Johnson's General Election win.
Boris Johnson taking a morning walk in St James's Park in London on 6 May. (PA)

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.

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“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.

Watch: What you can and can't do during England's third national lockdown