When Boris Johnson was admitted to hospital more than a month ago, he was a middleaged 5ft 9in man weighing a massive 17-and-a-half stone.
His BMI or Body Mass Index — a measure of whether you are a healthy weight — was 36, placing him firmly in the obese category.
Even though he is only 55, as a heavily overweight male, he ticked the boxes for those most likely to suffer the most severe symptoms of coronavirus.
Before he became ill, he probably thought he was a little on the heavy side.
Boris Johnson before and after a recent weight loss regime though this still failed to protect him from Coronavirus which he suffered worse than his thinner colleagues did
But so what? He’d always thought of himself as fit — he cycled everywhere, walked his dog, squired a much younger lover, he jogged, played tennis, had boundless energy and managed to run the country, too.
Boris had always been vehemently opposed to sugar taxes.
‘The recent proposal for a tax on milkshakes seems to me to clobber those who can least afford it,’ he said last summer when Theresa May planned to introduce what he called ‘sin’ taxes.
‘If we want people to lose weight and live healthier lifestyles, we should encourage people to walk, cycle and generally do more exercise,’ he said.
How things have changed. Now after his hospital experience, Boris has had a Damascene conversion and is launching a war on fat, preparing a ‘much more interventionist’ drive to tackle the problem.
‘I’ve changed my mind on this,’ he told advisers drawing up the new strategy, as he shed his principles almost as fast as the stone he’s lost since entering hospital.
All I can say is it’s a welcome change of heart.
The unavoidable truth is that a quarter of all people who have died from Covid-19 are overweight.
Before he became ill, he probably thought he was a little on the heavy side. But so what? He’d always thought of himself as fit — he cycled everywhere, walked his dog, squired a much younger lover, he jogged, played tennis, had boundless energy and managed to run the country, too
Almost a third of British adults are now clinically obese and some experts believe this helps explain why the death toll here is so high.
And yet absurdly, in some circles, anyone suggesting a person was overweight was branded a fascist or a ‘fat shamer’.
Fashion magazines and social media parade body-proud plus-sized models such as the gargantuan Ashley Graham, and singers like Lizzo, who’s hardly svelte.
Adele has been pilloried for betraying the sisterhood because she’s shed 7st and looks fabulous.
But fat is not fabulous. If Boris is serious about tackling obesity, he will have to convince us all to accept that fact.
Doctors should feel free to use the ‘F’ word to help tackle obesity — yes, with kindness and care but also without fear of being attacked for bullying or insensitivity.
Because, as Boris now realises after his brush with death, you can’t be fat and fit.
With news that she is finally getting surgery for her crippling knee injury, Madonna posts us pictures of her perfectly pert derriere.
Bejesus, she’s 61 years old and her butt is as plump as a freshly picked ripe peach. And before you ask, of course — it’s all down to workouts alone!
Stephen’s tea and symphony
Stephen Fry has told how he turns to the music of Beethoven to battle depression
Some accuse Stephen Fry of being self-pitying when talking during the epidemic about his years of depression and his attempted suicide.
The comedian says Beethoven saved him. ‘There is a healing quality to it [the music] that helps,’ he said. ‘Inside you, you just do not see the point of anything.
Nothing has flavour or savour… and Beethoven is a perfect example of someone who brings colour back to you.’
When the black dog is walking freely through so many self-isolated homes, such honesty from a man the nation adores should be applauded.
Although for some of us it may not be Beethoven’s Ode To Joy that gets us through, but the Clash’s Should I Stay Or Should I Go — and we stay
A friend of the Sussexes reveals in Vanity Fair that Prince Harry feels ‘lonely’ in Los Angeles.
‘Harry is missing a structure in his life, he doesn’t have friends in LA like Meghan and doesn’t have a job.’
The sad truth is, the Prince hasn’t had a proper job since he left the Army five years ago.
Prince Harry salutes as the Last Post is played as he joins British troops and service personal remaining in Afghanistan
£468m Rihanna’s heart belongs to — Brixton
Singer Rihanna, who is now worth more than Elton John, rents a fabulous North-West London home next to Paul McCartney, has a pied-à-terre in Paris and a bolthole in her native Barbados.
She has made her £468million fortune selling sexy lingerie, clothes and make-up to ordinary women, and well done her.
So is it not rather endearing that she longs to go to Brixton in South London, where she can get authentic Jamaican food?
Although I’m guessing she hasn’t been there too recently — it has one of the highest violent crime rates in the capital.
Rihanna attends her makeup brand Fenty Beauty’s 1-year anniversary at Sephora inside JCPenney on September 14, 2018 in Brooklyn, New York
What is not to love about the new baldy David Beckham, his hair now thinner than Posh’s slender figure.
Hurrah that he has not had a ghastly hair transplant. He’s learned that even with his £335million fortune, money can buy you happiness — but it can’t buy you hairiness.
David Beckham spotted shopping in Burford with noticeably thinning hair
The diminutive Chancellor, Dishy Sunak, has topped a poll as the sexiest politician. Little wonder. As any woman will testify, there is always something irresistible about a man with billions bulging in his back pocket.
I can’t be the only one worried about our PM, who has looked frail, befuddled, exhausted and watery-eyed in his recent appearances. Where has the barnstorming Brexit Boris gone? Instead we have the nappy-changing, NHS-clapping, overweight Covid Boris. It’s neither a pretty nor a reassuring sight.
Before his injury, the fitness guru ‘Juicy Joe’ Wicks kept us entertained and exercised on TV for weeks at a time. Now he says that fatherhood and his two young children are the cause of his bad hair and expanding waistline. Crikey Joe, it’s only mums who can use that excuse.
Covid Shout Outs
To my dentist, whom I bumped into on a walk, saying it would be months before they would open. His top tips?
Tooth cement bought at any chemist to fix crowns and fill cavities (use less than you think you need) and the soft side of an emery board to file jagged edges of a cracked tooth.
To my neighbour, the magician Dynamo, whose Beyond Belief series is the top-rating Sky entertainment show for a decade.
Despite his own battle with Crohn’s disease and having had Covid-19, he’s still delivering food to elderly neighbours around him. Right now, we all need a little bit of Dynamo’s magic.
And to the only man in my life, Captain Birds Eye. I’ve lived on his fish fingers for weeks — I can eat a packet of ten in one sitting. He may not fill my heart, but he at least fills my tummy.
Is there not something painfully pitiful in watching the twice married 71-year-old entrepreneur, author and philanthropist (his description, not mine) Duncan Bannatyne on The Real Marigold Hotel?
When not being ill, touching up his mahogany hair dye or staggering around like an old man, the Dragons’ Den star talks constantly about keeping young for his new wife Nigora Whitehorn, 40. Sad to say, Dunc, I sure hope she’s not been watching.
Chris Is Hot For Dakota
Meanwhile, Fifty Shades Of Grey actress Dakota Johnson — who is locked down in LA with her British boyfriend, Chris Martin — poses on the cover of Marie Claire, and talks to the magazine about her mental health problems.
Frankly, sweetheart, you won’t get much sympathy from us single women who are locked down alone — when you’re self-isolating with the hunky millionaire singer of Coldplay.
Dakota Johnson attends the LA Special Screening Of Roadside Attractions’ in August 2019