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GPs to prescribe cycling as Boris Johnson unveils obesity crackdown to help overweight Britons tackle coronavirus

Boris Johnson is to tell Britons to get on their bikes as he sets out his strategy to tackle obesity on Monday.

The Prime Minister will announce a “Better Health” campaign, with the aim of encouraging 35 million people to lose weight and live healthier lives.

It comes after new research found that being overweight or obese puts people at a significantly greater risk of suffering severe coronavirus symptoms if they contract the disease.

Around two-thirds of British adults are above a healthy weight, according to official estimates.

As part of the Government’s strategy, NHS weight loss services will be expanded, and GPs will be encouraged to hand out “cycling prescriptions”.

The move will see patients in pilot areas given access to bikes, while there are also plans to put in place more segregated lanes and better cycle.

The Prime Minister is also expected to ban junk food adverts on TV before the 9pm watershed and to outlaw them entirely online.

Mr Johnson has previously admitted that his own brush with Covid-19 – which saw him require intensive care in April – convinced him of the need to tackle Britain’s bulging waistlines.

Promotions on snacks will be curbed and, according to a Daily Mail report, restaurant and takeaway chains will have to publish the number of calories in the meals they serve – while shops will have to do the same with any alcohol they sell.

The highly-interventionist approach marks a U-turn for the PM, who until recently has been a vocal opponent of “sin taxes” and perceived “nannying” by the state.

A Government spokeswoman said: “Covid-19 has given us all a wake-up call of the immediate and long-term risks of being overweight, and the Prime Minister is clear we must use this moment to get healthier, more active and eat better.

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