Obesity: Covid-19 — [Philip Davies in the Chair]

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 9:31 am on 10th November 2020.

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Photo of Jim Shannon Jim Shannon Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Human Rights), Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Health) 9:31 am, 10th November 2020

I beg to move,

That this House
has considered obesity and the covid-19 outbreak.

This issue has come to my attention so many times over the past few months—I am highly aware of it. I applied for this debate in March, but because of the covid-19 restrictions I was able only to introduce a petition. I am glad to have reached this pinnacle of opportunity to speak on the matter.

I thank colleagues who supported my application for the debate and the Backbench Business Committee, which kindly found time for us to discuss this important issue. I also thank Members for attending the debate and for emailing me to register their interest in speaking in it. I look forward to hearing from the shadow spokespersons of the SNP and Labour party, and especially from our Minister, who is always courteous to everyone, with the answers we hope to hear from her on this topic of great importance.

For the first time in many a month this nation can smile, following the news this morning that it is hoped a vaccine will be available. I do not want to pre-empt the final trials, but for once the nation smiles with hope that better days lie ahead, which must good news for us all.

Obesity is one of the country’s greatest health challenges. The UK has, unfortunately, the highest obesity rates in western Europe, and they are rising faster than those of any other developed nation. We cannot ignore that, which is why we are debating it today and why the Minister is here to respond. We are a majority-overweight nation, with more than six in 10 UK adults being overweight or living with obesity. That has a significant effect on the nation’s health, on the NHS and on the quality of life of each and every one of us living with the condition.

Obesity increases the risk of developing conditions such as type 2 diabetes, and I declare an interest as a type 2 diabetic. I was once a 17 stone, overweight person.