Published on 11 August 2020

The Better Health programme aims to help people reduce their risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Public Health England has launched the Better Health campaign to support people to live healthier lives.

The programme has been developed to help people reduce their risk of developing health conditions including type 2 diabetes and serious illness, including Covid-19.

Recent studies have suggested that being obese or excessively overweight puts people at greater risk of serious illness or death from Covid-19, with a third of people who died in hospital from the virus found to have also had diabetes (as previously reported here).

The campaign will be targeted at groups most affected by obesity and is supported by a coalition of partners, including those providing weight management services.

The campaign was recently unveiled as part of the government’s new Obesity Strategy and encourages adults to introduce changes that will help them work towards a healthier weight, with a suite of free tools and apps supporting people to eat better, drink less alcohol and get active.

This includes a new app for the free 12-week NHS Weight Loss Plan, helping people make healthier food choices and learn skills to prevent weight gain.

Currently published studies do not suggest that having excess weight increases people’s chances of contracting Covid-19.

However, latest reports have shown that obese people are significantly more likely to become seriously ill and be admitted to intensive care with Covid-19 compared to those with a healthy BMI (body mass index).

Professor Kevin Fenton, London Regional Director at Public Health England, said: “Gaining weight often happens gradually over time and can be just the odd unhealthy habit mounting up, but extra weight puts pressure on our bodies and reduces our strength to fight off serious diseases, including Covid-19.

“Covid-19 has given us a wake-up call to get our health back on track. We know how hard it can be to lose weight and keep it off – our Better Health campaign aims to make it easier for everyone to introduce changes that will help them maintain a healthy weight. It’s never too late, or too early, to make changes that will have a lasting impact on your health.”

Many people have used lockdown as an opportunity to change habits and adopt healthier behaviours, yet research has shown more than half the population has found it harder to stay healthy during this time.

While staying active is important to help people lose weight and keep it off, improving diet is most critical as most people are consuming more calories than they need.

Visit the NHS Better Health website for free tools and support to start leading a healthier lifestyle
Find out more about the NHS Healthier You: NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme
Read more about type 2 diabetes
Read the DRWF leaflets Exercise and diabetes and A healthy diet and diabetes here
Read Lockdown guidance for staying home and safe for people living with diabetes during Covid-19 pandemic
Read How people with diabetes could become more ill if diagnosed with Covid-19
DRWF operations during the Covid-19 health crisis

The DRWF team is working remotely. Covid-19 guidance, particularly where it aligns or impacts with diabetes guidance, is shared as quickly as possible through the DRWF website and social media channels with the aim of making it as easy to understand as possible and a reliable source of latest news.

Further reports to follow – visit DRWF news page
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Read DRWF diabetes information leaflets here
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