Onhealth calling for government to do more

A Newcastle based obesity clinic – Onhealth – is calling for the government to do more in the fight against obesity in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. New research has revealed that the risk of death from COVID-19 was found to be 37% higher in obese patients. For those under the age of 50 with the virus, obesity is the biggest contributing factor to death.

Whilst the nation, generally, is grappling with the temporary problem that lockdown is causing inactivity and overeating, it has brought into sharp focus the significance of the UK’s longstanding problem with obesity.

63% of England’s adults are classed as overweight or obese. Obesity causes high blood pressure, type-2 diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood sugar and excess body fat around the waist. Excess body fat interferes with the immune responses to infection and data available relating to other flu-related illnesses has revealed that overweight people carry the virus for 42% longer than those with a healthy BMI.

Ian Scanlan, Onhealth’s Group Director, said; “With the suggestion that the world could be facing similar pandemics in the future, the government must do more to ensure that our population is as healthy as possible to avoid future lockdowns, paralysis of the economy and large-scale deaths. They can help not just through policy change, such as the 2018 PHE Calorie Reduction Strategy, but also by facilitating greater access for individuals to effective weight-loss programmes.”

In February 2020, Onhealth began trials with the Newcastle East, Gateshead and Birtley Primary Care Networks; a conglomerate of ten GP surgeries with 100,000 registered patients. The trial will see GP’s refer patients to Onhealth to undergo a weight-loss and lifestyle programme that utilises some of the most advanced technology to provide objective testing, it includes:

  • Physiotherapist evaluation and continual assessment
  • Ultrasonic body fat measurements
  • Personalised resting metabolic rate
  • Blood glucose and cholesterol analysis
  • Urinalysis
  • Personalised diet and energy prescription (from qualified dieticians)

For the time being, weekly visits to the clinic by patients are on hold, however Onhealth is hoping to shortly provide a ‘virtual’ service for clients and patients.

The Rt Hon Nick Brown MP, Labour MP for Newcastle Upon Tyne East, is supporting the campaign:

“Emerging evidence suggests that there are a number of factors that make some of us more vulnerable than others to Coronavirus. Obesity has been identified as a contributing factor both directly and indirectly. I support Onhealth’s work to reduce obesity and join with them in calling on the Government to do more in the fight against obesity.”