Weekly News Digest: Obesity and Covid 19 - 18th May | World Obesity Federation

Weekly News Digest: Obesity and Covid 19 - 18th May

NewsWeekly News Digest: Obesity and Covid 19 - 18th May

Welcome to the second weekly digest of stories about COVID-19, obesity and related challenges from across the globe.

We will be compiling stories from credible sources representing all regions of the world, including academic articles, position statements and mainstream news, amongst others. 

If you have signed up to our newsletter, we will be sending this digest to your inbox every Monday during the current pandemic. If you have any stories from your country or discipline, please send through to us at eneeds@worldobesity.org.



  • The How Coronavirus Is Exposing the World’s Fragile Food Supply Chain – and Could Leave Millions Hungry (Times)
    • Lockdowns and labour shortages due to coronavirus have already caused issues in food distribution, exacerbation of existing food insecurity, and limited ability to import food on the national level. If this continues to disrupt planting of staple crop, food shortages may result
  • Don’t Let Asia Starve (The Straits Times)
    • This article collects three editorials from different Asian countries that provide suggestions as to how governments should ensure food security during and after Covid-19.
  • COVID-19 could cause the collapse of Pakistan's food system (Relief web)
    • Due to high levels of food insecurity within Pakistan, it is extremely important to support farmers and provide ways for them to safely harvest, transport, and sell food products in order to combat hunger within Pakistan.
  • Coronavirus: US school closings may spur childhood obesity (Independent)
    • Experts fear that distance-learning may increase the rate of childhood obesity. Children at home tend to get less exercise, have more opportunities to snack, and spend more time in front of screens. Parents are also likely to buy more shelf-stable foods due to the pandemic, as children will lose access to balanced school meals. Obesity in childhood increases the risk of other non-communicable diseases.
  • Boris Johnson launches a new battle of the bulge (The Times)
    • After suffering from coronavirus himself, Boris Johnson promises to roll back his criticism of the “nanny state” and implement anti-obesity measures, as many report high obesity rates in the UK. Sources say he intends to encourage biking. The author suggests extending the UK sugar tax and mandating that doctors have frank discussions with patients about weight.
  • Study Says Obese People Should Quarantine Longer (Forbes)
    • As some studies have demonstrated that people living with overweight and obesity who contract influenza are contagious for longer and shed a higher quantity of virus than those without, experts wonder if these theories are applicable to Covid-19. However, this study did not account for other complicating factors that may increase a person’s chance of severe illness.
  • Latin America’s Outbreaks Now Rival Europe’s. But Its Options Are Worse (New York Times)
    • This article details the devastating impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on many Latin American countries due to overrun hospitals, economic downturns, and lack of hospitals. It uses the total number of deaths now compared to last year, which may be a better metric in the region. Lockdown enforcement, death tolls, and access to adequate care varies by country.
  • Opinion: COVID-19 is a nutrition crisis too — we need a multisystems response (Devex)
    • This article outlines the unique challenges and possible responses faced by LMICs in response to COVID-19. The authors recommend diversifying the food supply and encouraging local producers, developing free universal healthcare, and implementing social supports.