Slimmed down Boris Johnson 'eyeing junk food advertising crackdown'

Video report by ITV News Political Correspondent Dan Hewitt

Boris Johnson is urging overweight people to go on a diet this summer ahead of reported crackdown on junk food advertising.

The prime minister, who is himself on a diet and exercising more, said "losing weight is frankly one of the ways that you can reduce your own risks from Covid actually it's one of the ways you can generally protect your health and protect the NHS".

Mr Johnson, who has lost a stone in weight since falling critically ill with coronavirus, is reportedly set to target junk food adverts by banning them before the 9pm TV watershed, as part of his health drive for the UK.

Rule changes are yet to be announced but along with stopping junk food adverts until after 9pm, ministers are also reported to be planning bans on online ads for unhealthy foods and restaurants could be forced to put calorie information on their menus.

It's believed the government is also considering limiting in-store promotions.

In an interview at an NHS GP surgery, the PM hinted a change was on its way.

"I’m not normally a believer in nannying or bossying type of politics", he admitted, but said "the reality is that obesity is one of the real comorbidity factors".

It's believed Mr Johnson's period in intensive care with coronavirus has been a contributing factor in his health drive for the UK.

Health and Social Care Minister Helen Whatley did not confirm reports on junk food, but told the BBC an announcement was due "imminently".

She added: "Particularly with Covid, you are at greater risk of getting it, at greater risk of complications, at greater risk of sadly dying from Covid if you are overweight.

"As it is such an important health challenge we have to take it on, and the PM is committed to making sure we tackle obesity."

  • Jodie Rigby-Mee lost 38kg using Slimming World, she says banning ads could 'really help':

During the visit to a medical centre in east London, Prime Minister Johnson was filmed describing people opposed to vaccines as “nuts”.

He said: “Because there’s all these anti-vaxxers now… they are nuts.”

The prime minister is also encouraging “everybody to get a flu jab in the run-up to this winter” as part of his campaign to protect the NHS and avoid it becoming overwhelmed, should coronavirus still be a major health risk later in the year.

He believes "by the middle of next year we will be well on the way, we will be well on the way past" the Covid-19 pandemic, but warned there are still “tough times ahead”.

He said: “We want everybody to get a flu jab in the run-up to this winter and that’s why we’re rolling out the biggest-ever programme of flu immunisation.

“And we’re aiming first of all for schoolchildren up to year 7, for pregnant women, for people over 65, for people who are shielded, but then we will be extending it to people who are 50 to 65.

“Now the reason for doing this is to protect the NHS in the winter months because obviously we have still got Covid, we have still got the threat of a second spike on Covid, and it’s vital therefore to keep that pressure off the NHS by everybody getting a flu jab and I really hope everybody will.”