Tom Watson: Obesity drive will help sugar addicts just like me
Tom Watson has welcomed a landmark Government plan to tackle obesity – saying it could help millions of Brits to lead healthier lives.
The former Labour deputy leader, who lost eight stone and reversed his type 2 diabetes, said Boris Johnson’s scheme would help people lose weight, including those who do not yet realise that they have a problem.
The PM’s anti-obesity drive has been launched in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, and comes after Public Health England research found that being overweight puts people at greater risk.
Speaking from his home in Wyre Forest, Mr Watson joked he was “feeling great” because he was no longer the deputy leader of the Labour Party, having stood down ahead of December’s general election.
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But turning to more serious matters he said: “Obviously I feel great because I lost a lot of weight, I brought my blood pressure down and reversed type 2 diabetes.
"And that’s really what’s on offer with this new obesity strategy. It’s a little bit late, but better late than never.
"I’m really, really pleased that the Prime Minister has stamped his leadership on it, because as a nation there is so much on offer for us. There are millions of people who could rid themselves of medication and the problems caused by obesity, so it’s good news.”
Under the plans, NHS weight loss services will be expanded so more people get support, while GPs will be encouraged to prescribe cycling. Two-for-one promotions on sugary products and junk food adverts could be restricted.
Mr Watson, who was the MP for West Bromwich East for 19 years, tipped the scales at 22 stone and struggled to walk up a flight of stairs before embarking on his weight loss programme.
He recalled how he would binge on whole packets of chocolate biscuits and could not walk down a supermarket aisle without “starting to salivate” at the sweet treats on offer.
He added: "I consider myself a reformed sugar addict and I think there are a lot of people who are in a similar position that perhaps don't recognise it in themselves yet, so this will help I'm sure."
Mr Watson documented his weight loss in a bestselling book Downsizing. He is due to publish his debut novel The House later this year, which he says looks at "cold-blooded ambition and betrayal in Parliament".