- Boris Johnson is reportedly convinced that he ended up in intensive care with the coronavirus because he is significantly overweight.
- The UK prime minister told friends he weighed 17 and a half stone when he was admitted to hospital with the coronavirus, meaning he would be classified as clinically obese, The Times newspaper reports.
- Johnson’s belief that his weight was linked to his hospitalisation is said to have persuaded him of the urgent need to tackle Britain’s obesity crisis.
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Prime Minister Boris Johnson is reportedly convinced that the reason he ended up in intensive care with the coronavirus is that he is significantly overweight.
Research has found that being obese doubles the risk of being admitted to intensive care with Covid-19, and Johnson told friends that he weighed 17 and a half stone when he was admitted to hospital with the coronavirus last month, according to a Times newspaper column by James Forsyth, the Spectator magazine’s political editor.
At 5 foot 9, that means the prime minister’s body mass index would have been around 36, well above the 30 threshold above which adults are classified as clinically obese.
He is said to have remarked to friends when discussing the coronavirus: “It’s all right for you thinnies.”
The prime minister spent a week in London’s St Thomas’ hospital with the coronavirus in April, several days of which were spent in intensive care, where he received oxygen treatment. Johnson told The Sun newspaper at one point his condition was so bad that doctors were making plans to announce his death.
He has now fully recovered, and Forsyth’s column said he had lost a stone since being discharged from hospital.
One in three adults in the UK are classified as obese — one of the highest rates in Europe — and Johnson’s belief that his weight was linked to his hospitalisation is said to have persuaded him of the urgent need to tackle Britain’s obesity crisis.
The study by Glasgow University which linked obesity to a higher chance of suffering badly from coronavirus found that as body mass index increases, which measures someone’s height-to-weight ratio, so does a person’s risk of having a severe case of Covid-19.
Johnson is said to be planning a “much more interventionist” drive to tackle obesity, the Times reported, despite his previous criticisms of the “nanny state,” and the fact he previously considered abolishing the sugar tax, which adds up to 24p to the cost of a soft drink depending on its sugar content.
He is planning a drive to encourage people to cycle more and to roll out more messaging encouraging people to live healthier lives.
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