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Action on Sugar


The COVID-19 outbreak is affecting us all, globally. A novel coronavirus - a completely new disease with little known about it, but evidence is growing by the day, along with hopes for a vaccine.

Some groups of people appear to be at greater risk of developing complications, and evidence suggests obesity and related health conditions could be a risk factor for worse outcomes for COVID-19.

We have collated evidence, useful resources and news coverage all in one place so we can all be informed of the latest developments in COVID-19 and its effects on the focus of our work. We will add to this page regularly.

Public Health England have published findings of their review into how different factors have affected COVID-19 risk and outcomes. 

Action on Sugar Releases:

We are calling on the food industry to behave more responsibly by ceasing marketing and promotions of unhealthy food and focusing on providing healthier options. 

Action on Sugar Blogs:

COVID-19 News Articles March-May 2020:

Click here for the latest news

  • May

Daily Mail: Dear Boris... Opening the floodgates to food that would be illegal here betrays our farmers and our children: JAMIE OLIVER joins Mail on Sunday's campaign (May 30th)

Metro: Over 100 doctors call for tax on junk food to handle obesity epidemic (May 27th)

Food Service Footprint: WHAT’S ON HOLD DUE TO COVID-19? (May 25th)

The Times: Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall: now is the PM’s best chance to crack down on junk food (May 24th)

PLOS Medicine: Sugary drink warnings: A meta-analysis of experimental studies (May 20th)

The Express: Junk food tax will help the Prime Minister's new 'war on fat' (May 17th)

The Daily Mail: CAMILLA CAVENDISH: David Cameron was fat too - but now Boris Johnson's near death can change the shape of Britain (May 17th)

The Express: Boris Johnson to launch anti-obesity drive after coronavirus scare (May 16th)

The Times: Boris Johnson to launch war on fat after coronavirus scare (May 15th)

BBC News: Coronavirus: Does being overweight or obese affect how ill people get? (May 8th)

Dentistry: Action on Sugar says UK’s oral health likely to worsen following COVID-19 (AoS comment) (May 7th)

The Times: Obesity doubles risk of hospital (May 7th)

Spectator: It’s time we were honest about obesity and Covid-19 (May 6th)

The Daily Mail: SARAH VINE: Who'll dare to face the facts on obesity and Covid-19? (May 6th)

The Daily Mail: Is obesity the second biggest COVID-19 risk factor? Data shows the elderly face the greatest risk of dying but experts warn overweight people must be 'cautious' after lockdown (May 5th)

The Guardian: Poverty kills people: after coronavirus we can no longer ignore it (May 5th)

Daily Mail: Urgent probe into obesity link to Covid-19 deaths: Matt Hancock orders health officials to find why certain groups including the overweight, men and ethnic minorities are more likely to die (May 4th)

The Times: Coronavirus: obese people at greater risk of death and may stay infectious for longer (May 3rd)

The Guardian: Almost a fifth of UK homes with children go hungry in lockdown (May 3rd)

Buzz Feed: UK Scientists Are Urgently Investigating The Link Between Obesity And The Coronavirus (May 2nd)

BBC News: Coronavirus: McDonald's to start delivery-only reopening (May 1st)

  • April

The Grocer: Letters: this crisis is no excuse for irresponsible food ads (AoS comment) (April 27th)

Forbes: How Can Obesity Affect Your COVID-19 Coronavirus Risk? Here Are Some Possibilities (April 26th)

BBC News: Coronavirus: Should I worry about my lockdown eating? (April 25th)

The Daily Mail: Coronavirus UK: Over-50s should stay at home to protect NHS (April 22nd)

The New York Times: How Poor Diet Contributes to Coronavirus Risk (April 20th)

The Daily Mail: How losing weight could be key to surviving Covid-19 (April 20th)

The Times: A blast from the past proves it’s wrong to take boffins’ word as final on Covid-19 (April 19th)

The Daily Mail: Overweight people at risk of being hospitalised with coronavirus (April 19th)

BBC News: Coronavirus: Children's food vouchers scheme scrapped (April 18th)

The Telegraph: Being overweight can lead to more serious coronavirus hospital admissions, UK research shows (April 18th)

European Scientist: Covid 19 and the elephant in the room (April 16th)

The Grocer:  Could a rise in obesity be an unintended consequence of lockdown life? (April 15th)

The Guardian: Millions in UK having to choose between paying rent and eating, poll suggests (April 13th)

The Sun: Families eating two-and-a-half hours earlier and lapping up desserts during lockdown, Just Eat data reveals (April 12th)

The Daily Mail: Brits are told to lose weight to fight coronavirus (April 12th)

The Grocer: Co-op drops original Easter ad campaign to support FareShare (April 9th)

Reuters: Obesity is major COVID-19 risk factor, says French chief epidemiologist (April 8th)

IDS: Will the Covid-19 pandemic increase obesity rates? (April 7th)

Liverpool Echo: I ordered the M&S food box which is 'filled with essentials' (April 7th)

INews: Coronavirus in the UK: Fears of 'double whammy' for childhood obesity as families pushed towards unhealthy food | inews (April 6th)

New Food Magazine: COVID-19 pandemic may exacerbate childhood obesity, experts warn (6th April)

CGIAR: How COVID-19 may disrupt food supply chains in developing countries (April 2nd)

  • March

IGD: Coronavirus (COVID-19): UK retailer responses  (March 23rd)

Official Guidance for COVID-19:

UK Government: Coronavirus (COVID-19): what you need to do 

UK Government: Our plan to rebuild: The UK Government’s COVID-19 recovery strategy

NHS: Coronavirus (COVID-19)

WHO: Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) Pandemic

Public Health Organisation Position Statements:

British Heart Foundation: BHF Research Position statement on COVID-19 (coronavirus) (April 23rd)

Sustain: Our statement on Covid-19 (March 23rd)

Useful Resources:

Association for Nutrition: Government and Related Organisation's Nutrition Resources

FrameWorks Institute: Framing COVID-19 

NCD Alliance: Help map unhealthy commodity industries' responses to COVID-19 

British Heart Foundation: Why are so many black and ethnic minority people dying from coronavirus

World Cancer Research Fund: Living with cancer during coronavirus

British Dental Association: Coronavirus Updates

Dental Health: Dental care and coronavirus (COVID-19) 

World Obesity Federation: Coronavirus (COVID-19) & Obesity

The European Association for the Study of Obesity: COVID-19 and Obesity 

Food Foundation: The Big Picture: How is COVID-19 affecting how we feed ourselves?

British Dietetic Association: COVID-19 / Coronavirus - Advice for the General Public

Royal College of Physicians London: COVID-19 and mitigating impact on health inequalities 

Prevent Epidemics: Supplement on the impact of Non-communicable diseases on COVID-19 

Prevent Epidemics: Past, current and future COVID-19 infections: the size of the iceberg and what tests can and can’t tell us 

  • Podcasts:

The Guardian: Covid-19: how vulnerable are people with diabetes? (22nd April)

  • Blogs:

Action on Sugar: Racial disparities in the UK’s health system (June 18th)

Nutriton Connect: Public Health Before Profit: The case for cautious engagement with the food and beverage industry during the COVID-19 pandemic (May 6th)

4SD: COVID-19 Narratives–Spotlight on systems with professor Corinna Hawkes: our life support system: covid-19 shows multiple systems are vital for global health (May 5th)

RSPH: Is Covid-19 driving a new food and farming system? (April 22nd)

Bite Back 2030: Facing our vulnerabilities - Why we need to talk about health, diet and weight as Covid-19's emerging risk factor (April 21st)

WCRF: Obesity and coronavirus (COVID-19) (April 21st)

Action on Sugar: COVID-19 and the New Normal (April 20th)

Share Action: Supermarkets can help prevent the next pandemic (April 20th)

Food active: Planning, Hot Food Takeaways and Covid-19 (April 16th)

Share Action: All eyes on the “S” of ESG: A response to the global pandemic (April 15th)

The Lunch Tray:What Our Stress-Eating and "Anxiety Baking" Say About Socioeconomics and Poor Diet (April 8th)

Wexner Medical Center: Why is obesity a risk factor for severe COVID-19 symptoms? (April 7th)

Nutrition Connect: Healthy diets for human resilience in the age of COVID-19 (April 6th)

  • Webinars:

World Obesity : World Obesity Live – COVID-19 and Obesity Webinar Series

  • Polling:

Voluntary Health Scotland: Briefing: Impact of COVID-19 on Voluntary Health Organisations April 2020 

Ofcom: Half of UK adults exposed to false claims about coronavirus (April 9th)

Food Foundation: New Food Foundation Survey: three million britons are going hungry just three weeks into lockdown 

Research - Coronavirus and Health:

Jose, R.J. and Manuel, A. (15 April 2020): Does COVID‐19 Disprove the Obesity Paradox in ARDS? (Obesity)

Christopher M. Petrilli, Simon A. Jones, et al (08 April 2020): Factors associated with hospitalization and critical illness among 4,103 patients with COVID-19 disease in New York City (MEDRXIV)

Luzi L, Radaelli M.G. (05 April 2020): Influenza and obesity: its odd relationship and the lessons for COVID-19 pandemic (PubMed)

Donna H. Ryan , Eric Ravussin , and Steven Heymsfield (01 April 2020) (Editorial): COVID 19 and the Patient with Obesity – The Editors Speak Out (Obesity)

Dietz, W. and Santos‐Burgoa, C. (01 April 2020): Obesity and its Implications for COVID‐19 Mortality (Obesity)

The ISARIC Coronavirus Clinical Characterisation Consortium (4C) study (ISARIC)

Rundle, A.G., Park, Y., Herbstman, J.B., Kinsey, E.W. and Wang, Y.C. (30 March 2020): COVID‐19–Related School Closings and Risk of Weight Gain Among Children (Obesity) 

Media misinformation and COVID-19:

The Guardian: Coronavirus misinformation is dangerous. Think before you share

Wikipedia: Misinformation related to the 2019–20 coronavirus pandemic

BBC News: Coronavirus: How can you stop the spread of misinformation?

The Conversation: Social media fuels wave of coronavirus misinformation as users focus on popularity, not accuracy   

COVID-19 Economic Impact:

PWC: UK Economic Update: COVID-19 

Scottish Government: Coronavirus (COVID-19) update: Economy Secretary's statement 21 April 2020

FInancial Times: Britain’s NHS needs more than plaudits to beat Covid-19 

New Economics: Covid-19: what austerity means for our health 






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