Boris Johnson hit a nerve with Brits after posting a video boasting about getting fit and losing weight during lockdown and encouraging others to do the same. Many quickly reminded him gyms and wellness facilities are still shut.
In a video on Thursday, the British PM said he has “been doing a lot, in fact everything I can” to “lose weight and to feel fitter and healthier” during the Covid-19 lockdown, adding that he feels “much more energetic” because of it.
I’ve been doing all I can to lose weight, and I'm not only fitter and healthier but also happier for it.I'm pleased we’re investing £100 million into services to get the country healthier so we can all – quite literally – bounce back better. pic.twitter.com/twD2EYFwyR
— Boris Johnson (@BorisJohnson) March 4, 2021
“I feel full of beans, and I thoroughly, thoroughly recommend it,” Johnson declared, before concluding that he wants to “encourage” hundreds of thousands of others around the country to get “healthier and happier” with him.
Johnson said the government has pledged £100 million to initiatives which seek to lower obesity numbers, including by creating apps to help people lose weight and possibly introducing ‘Fit-Miles’ schemes.
Many on social media did not take kindly to Johnson’s video, however, accusing him of being tone-deaf as most regular people have not had access to facilities like gyms and pools for months due to lockdowns.
Then open the gyms and pools.
— Dick Delingpole (@DickDelingpole) March 4, 2021
Open the gyms.
— ZUBY: (@ZubyMusic) March 4, 2021
Stop with the patronising chat and open gyms, pools, playing fields and golf courses NOW. https://t.co/crJdqWpItz
— Mark Simpson (@marksimpsonist) March 4, 2021
Several Twitter users pointed out that while the government ordered health facilities like gyms to close, unhealthy fast-food takeaways remained open and became appealing to people who could not leave their homes or go to healthier restaurants. Others pointed out that Brits who decided to exercise outdoors were in some cases harassed and sanctioned by police.
From the government who kept gyms closed and McDonald’s open 🤔
— xjemmamx (@xjemmamxo) March 4, 2021
Shutting gyms, shaming people for taking walks, exercising outdoors and trying to get masks on joggers, but it’s all about our health……….
— JC, New Normal, My arse! #KBF (@JCUK1981) March 4, 2021
“You couldn’t have done more to make people unhealthy – lock them down, close gyms, limit exercise, encourage takeaway food, fail to recommend vitamins etc,”protested one person.
Others, like the University of Edinburgh’s Global Public Health Chair Devi Sridhar, took shots at Johnson’s upper-class privilege.
“So we just need to give everyone in the country their own personal trainer, time to exercise instead of working & a monthly voucher to Waitrose for fresh fruit/veg? That could work!” Sridhar mocked in a since-deleted tweet.
Angry commenters on social media are not the only ones concerned about the impact of lockdowns on the public health. UK health experts have also been warning that the pandemic restrictions are leading to a rise in obesity which could affect health long after Covid-19.
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