Combatting obesity – gastric bands could become more commonly available

obesity gastric bandGastric bands will become more readily available on the NHS as part of new plans to combat obesity.

This is one of the measures Prime Minister Boris Johnson is considering to help get the nation fitter, the Daily Telegraph reports.

Other potential measures include banning unlimited refills on unhealthy beverages and scrapping promotions such as ‘buy one get one free’.

Additionally, the UK could see new legislation come into force to help curtail unhealthy consumption habits. This would see cafe, restaurants and takeaway outlets declare the calorie content of their products.

Following his battle with COVID-19, which left him in intensive care, Johnson was said to have voiced his plans to ramp up strategies to clamp down on obesity.

Obesity and COVID-19

This comes as research shows being overweight or obese is linked with an increased risk of COVID-19.

People who were overweight or obese made up 78% of confirmed coronavirus cases. Similarly, 62% of those with the virus who died in hospital in the UK were overweight or obese.

The research – which was published in the BMJ – revealed a dose-response relationship between excess weight and the severity of COVID-19.

The more extreme the obesity, the more likely the individual will be hospitalised for COVID-19. And, as a result, the higher the risk of death.

The risk of critical illness from COVID-19 rose 44% for those who were overweight. Additionally, it almost doubled for those who were obese.

Excess sugar

New data has also highlighted a link between sugar consumption and large fat deposits around the heart and abdomen.

Published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, the study looked at sugar-sweetened drinks and sugar added to food and beverages to enhance sweetness.

The research team assessed the link between long-term sugar consumptions and fat stores by looking at participants over a 25-year period.

At the end of the study, CT scans were taken of the chest and abdomen to measure fat volumes around the heart and abdomen.

It was revealed that higher sugar intakes were associated with larger fat deposits around the abdomen and heart.

Dr Lyn Steffen, of the University of Minnesota School of Public Health, is the study’s author.

‘Our findings show that consuming too much added sugar and sugary drinks is related to a higher amount of fat tissue,’ she said.

‘And we know that fat deposits are connected with higher risks of heart disease and diabetes.’

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