UK Government Launches Campaign to Decrease Cases of Obesity

Category: Health


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. general practitioner / ˈʤɛnərəl prækˈtɪʃənər / (n) – a medical doctor whose work is not limited to a certain area

    The doctor started as a general practitioner before specializing in cardiology.

  2. diabetes / ˌdaɪ əˈbi tɪs / (n) – a disease characterized by having high levels of blood sugar

    Eating a lot of sweets can lead to diabetes.

  3. aggravate / ˈæg rəˌveɪt / (v) – to make something worse, usually a health condition or problem

    Too much exercise can aggravate a headache.

  4. curb / kɜrb / (v) – to control or keep something that's usually unwanted or unpleasant within a limit

    The government is trying to curb pollution by banning plastic bags.

  5. wave / weɪv / (n) – a sudden occurrence or rise of a situation

    If we’re not careful, we might experience a second wave of the disease.


Read the text below.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced a new health campaign that could help decrease obesity cases in the country.

Called Better Health, the campaign involves training general practitioners (GPs) to guide patients in maintaining a healthy lifestyle. GPs will encourage obese patients to take weight management classes and follow a meal and fitness plan for 12 weeks.

Under the campaign, restaurants and fast-food chains will be required to include calorie counts on their menus. In addition, stores will not be allowed to display unhealthy foods near checkout counters or include them in buy-one-get-one promotions.

According to a report, two-thirds of adults in the UK are obese, and one out of three children is overweight by the time they finish primary school.

The National Health Service is concerned about surging obesity cases because they have been linked to other illnesses such as diabetes and cancer, which cost the government over $7 billion each year. Obesity is also a major risk factor for heart attacks and strokes.

Johnson, who is considered overweight, launched the campaign after he tested positive for Covid-19 and recovered last April. He was alarmed when his doctors told him that his excess weight had aggravated his condition. Johnson acknowledged that losing weight may be difficult, but he encouraged people to make lifestyle changes that could make them healthier.

UK officials hope that curbing the number of obesity cases in the country will, in turn, help them prevent a possible second wave of Covid-19.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

• Do you think the campaign will have a long-term impact, or will its effects be mainly short-term? Explain.
• What other strategies do you think can be included in the campaign (e.g. making regular checkups mandatory)? Discuss.

Discussion B

• Do you think most people in your country maintain a healthy lifestyle? Why or why not?
• What are possible reasons why some people have difficulty maintaining a healthy lifestyle? Discuss.