Public Health England have recently launched a new national campaign to encourage millions of adults to improve their health and reduce their risk of serious illness, including COVID-19.
The Better Health campaign encourages adults to introduce changes that will help them work towards a healthier weight, with a range of free tools and apps that support people to eat more healthily, drink less alcohol and get active.
Excess weight and COVID-19
Almost two-thirds (63%) of adults in England are overweight or obese. The most severely affected groups are people aged 55 to 74, those living in deprived areas and certain black, Asian and minority ethnic groups.
Whilst current evidence doesn’t suggest that excess weight increases people’s chances of contracting COVID-19, there is data to show that obese people are significantly more likely to become seriously ill and be admitted to intensive care.
A recent study found that for people with a BMI of 35 to 40, the risk of death from COVID-19 increases by 40% and with a BMI over 40 by 90%, compared to those not living with obesity. Excess fat can affect the respiratory system and is also likely to impact inflammatory and immune function. This can have an impact on people’s response to infection and increase their vulnerability to severe symptoms of COVID-19.
Better Health campaign film
The campaign includes a new film that explains how weight gain happens, the impact that it can have on people’s bodies and how it increases the risk of serious diseases. The film then explains to people when they should act and encourages them to visit the Better Health campaign website to get more information about the support available.
Professor Kevin Fenton, London Regional Director at Public Health England, explains the aims of the new campaign:
“Gaining weight often happens gradually over time and can be just the odd unhealthy habit mounting up, but extra weight puts pressure on our bodies and reduces our strength to fight off serious diseases, including COVID-19.
“COVID-19 has given us a wake-up call to get our health back on track. We know how hard it can be to lose weight and keep it off – our Better Health campaign aims to make it easier for everyone to introduce changes that will help them maintain a healthy weight. It’s never too late, or too early, to make changes that will have a lasting impact on your health.”
The Better Health campaign film is now available on our Envisage Media App and can be added to screens with a single click. We also have a range of other content to encourage patients to look after their health in our healthy living category.