England to Restrict Fatty Food Promotions in Anti-Obesity Drive

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Promotions on foods high in fat, salt and sugar will be restricted in supermarkets and soft drink refills banned in England from April as part of a drive to cut obesity.

Large and medium-sized retailers will no longer be allowed to offer “buy one get one free” or “three for the price of two” deals on unhealthy products, the Department for Health and Social care said on Monday. Specialist retailers such as chocolate shops are exempt.

The curbs are to “make sure the healthy choice is the easy choice,” Health Minister Jo Churchill said in an emailed statement. “Creating an environment which helps everyone eat healthier foods more regularly is crucial to improving the health of the nation.”

The drive to reduce waistlines come after government data showed 63% of adults in England are overweight or obese, and one in three children are overweight when they leave elementary school.

As well as costing the National Health Service 6 billion pounds ($8.1 billion) a year in treating related conditions, the coronavirus has highlighted the risks of carrying extra weight, the government said in the statement.

U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has linked his own hospitalization with the disease in April to having been overweight, and in June said he’d reversed his previously “libertarian” position on food and public health.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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