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Health experts slam Eat Out scheme saying it will encourage obesity

Dietary advice for people newly diagnosed with type 2 diabetes should be improved

The initiative, which has now started across the UK, gives people 50 per cent off their food bills when they eat out in pubs, cafes, restaurants and food chains which have signed up to the scheme.

It was announced by the government to encourage people to spend money post-lockdown and help boost the economy.

More than 72,000 venues have signed up to the initiative which applies to eat-in food and drink on Monday to Wednesdays. The discount is capped at £10 per person and does not apply to alcohol.

The launch of the programme comes only a week after Prime Minister Boris Johnson unveiled the government’s new approach to tackle obesity.

With research indicating that obesity can worsen health outcomes among those who become infected with COVID-19, Liberal Democrat MP Munira Wilson, the party’s health spokeswoman, think junk food should have been exempt from the offer.

Speaking to the BBC, she said: “We all recognise the need to support the high street through the pandemic, but the government should have been more discerning with this scheme.

“With a number of fast-food chains signing up to the scheme, it seems clear that public health did not factor into the government’s decision.

“The government must put public health first and exclude from the scheme meals and drinks proven to contribute to obesity. We cannot afford to risk lives as we reopen the economy.”

Speaking back in July, Tam Fry, from the National Obesity Forum said the newly announced Eat Out scheme gave everyone a “green light to promote any old junk menu that the participating restaurant feels it can get away with.”

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