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Fat chance of cutting obesity if we’re eating to save the economy

SO the government obesity plan has been pulled back off the shelf and dusted down ready for action.

I wonder what will be ­different this time around?

It’s a fair question, given the fact there’s been ­little change over the past 20 years in levels of ­obesity in Britain.

In recent years it’s stabilised but that just means we’re holding on to the weight that’s holding us back.

I’m a little confused because one of the big ­targets is the “buy one, get one free” offers.

Yet from Monday we are all going to be encouraged by half-price discounts to “eat out to help out” in a bid to get the ­economy going again.

I also don’t think a ban on fast food advertising before 9pm will make much of a difference to the obesity problem, particularly among the younger ­generation.

Are kids watching much television? Mine doesn’t. Perhaps it’s us parents who must be shielded from the seductive junk food adverts, pre- and post-watershed.

The real battle to protect our kids from piling on the pounds is online and on the High Street, where kids are lured into fast food joints after school.

Britain’s inner-city streets especially are litter­ed with deep-fried deals at lunch-money ­prices. It was no different when I was at school.

The walk home always took three times as long because the queue for the chicken shop spilled out the door, along the ­pavement and it all had to be gobbled up and washed down with a fizzy drink before you got home.

We need a major cultural shift towards good eating and more education.

Supermarkets also need to step up to the plate and offer ­consumers better choice in their end-of-aisle sales.

I’d also like to see more hours of ­physical education offered to pupils in state-funded primary and secondary schools to rival that of the minority who attend fee-paying ones.

There’s so much benefit to be gained through exercise, physically and mentally.

It’s so important our kids get active and it has to be accessible to everyone.

I’m seeing too many children miss out beyond the school gates because outside clubs often come at an unaffordable cost to lower-income families, or because of the time spent on screens — or because it’s simply not safe to play outside.

PM Boris Johnson now knows it’s going to take a lot more than a tax on sugar.

He’s made some lifestyle changes ­himself and he can now do a press-up or two since his close shave with death after contracting coronavirus.

I can’t believe I’m about to say this; The Prime Minister is actually glowing right now.

I hope he’s motivated more than ever to lift the weight of obesity off the nation’s shoulders.

It’s a far bigger fight than Covid-19. We’ll be wrestling with obesity much longer than the virus.

IT has been so uplifting for myself and the GMB family to see Kate Garraway back at the desk, and I hope it’s given her the lift she needs to keep herself, her husband Derek and the kids going.

When it comes to our sanity, I always say nothing works unless you do. It’s so important we look after ourselves so we can look after everyone else.

I can’t begin to imagine what it’s been like for her, with Derek battling Covid-19 in intensive care since March, but I have been in awe of how she’s handled herself in public – and like the true professional she is, Kate’s strength has shone.

I didn’t know how mentally tough she was until last year when Kate boldly turned up to the Prince’s Trust Palace To Palace charity bike ride having not trained at all for the 45 miles.

There were points when her body was giving up but then her mind would take over and she crossed the line at Windsor Castle with Ben Shephard and me at her side.

That day I got a glimpse into how strong Kate truly is and, although what’s happened to Derek is incomparable, I saw her fight and know she has what it takes to keep battling for her husband, the kids and herself.

IT looks like my job is about to get a whole lot easier in winter.

A team of scientists led by the Met Office has made a breakthrough in predicting the North Atlantic pressure patterns that control our colder months in Europe and eastern North America.

It’s a massive step forward in forecasting harsh stormy winters or mild and wet ones. It will affect government policy and save lives and money.

If the science is right, the UK is about to become much more resilient in our colder months.

I’M gutted but not surprised to hear my Dancing On Ice partner and show veteran Brianne Delcourt has quit the ITV skating show after ten years.

She’s finally found love and has set up home beside Lake Ontario in Canada with her fiancé, ex-footballer and commentator Kevin Kilbane.

She was partnered with him in the last series of the hit ITV show, which will be back on our screens at the start of 2021.

I’ve seen them together twice. The last time was at the National Television Awards after-party – which feels like a lifetime ago.

They looked very much in love and Brianne was all giddy – a far cry from the tough Canadian cookie she is on the ice.

I think that’s why she had so much success on the show. She certainly beat me into shape and I got further than I could have dreamed of thanks to her.

At the time, her daughter Gracie was about a year old. We used to practise for hours on end and Brianne would take short breaks to express milk backstage.

She’s a real Superwoman and I’ll always have love for that girl – sorry Kevin, but it’s you, Bri and me!

I KICKED myself on the day wearing a face mask became law.

I’ve been wearing a mask to the shops since the beginning of the pandemic, even when scientists said they weren’t a defence.

Yet as soon as we all HAD to wear one, I forgot mine and had to drive back home to get it.

I’ve been in and out of shops and it’s clear some retailers are scared to confront shoppers who are flouting the rules while others have nightclub-style security turning away chancers who don’t have one.

And let’s not forget the annoying “inbetweeners” who only cover their mouths and not their nose. Who is actually up to date with what we can and can’t do?

I spent most of the last week on the road and people seemed unclear or have simply had enough.

And some still don’t believe the virus even exists.

MY hometown mayor is still facing criticism over his swift removal of a sculpture in Bristol capturing Black Lives Matter protester Jen Reid, which stood on the Edward Colston plinth after protesters toppled his statue.

The pulling down of the slave trader’s memorial happened right before my eyes, sparking an almighty roar as the iron statue hit the ground.

Marvin Rees was condemned for not having the Colston statue legally taken down when he came into office.

Now the same objectors say they are not happy the temporary and powerful replacement sculpture of a black woman with clenched fist reaching high for the sky was later removed.

Marvin is damned if he does and damned if he doesn’t. You’ll never please everybody.

As a proud Bristolian I’m anxious but respectful that it’s going to take time to decide what we do with that space.

IN typically British fashion, the weather can’t seem to make up its mind. Of course, the blame lies at the feet of us weather presenters.

I was backstage at the Good Morning Britain studios the other day and co-hosts Adil Ray and Ranvir Singh jumped on me at 4.50am demanding answers to what I’d done with summer.

During lockdown the weather was glorious, and now we can move about in the “new normal”, a stay­cation seems the safest bet with all the Government’s toing and froing.

But the British weather is doing what it so often does.

It might be the last few days of July but it felt autumnal at the beginning of this week.

Here’s something for the pub: We’ve not hit 30C this July. If, despite predictions, the mercury doesn’t hit it by today or tomorrow it’ll be the first time that’s not happened since 2011.

Personally, I think the “lockdown summer” was exactly what we all needed. I know it’s kept me going and got me out of bed many a morning.

I dread to think how much worse the state of the nation’s mental health would be if the weather had been grey and gloomy – although the dark cloud of the pandemic has certainly left many of us with our glasses half empty at some point in the past few months.

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