British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who weighed close to 250 pounds when he was hospitalized with COVID-19, suggested he is no longer a "libertarian" on the subject of obesity. He said Monday that the British are "significantly fatter" than most other nations in Europe—"apart from the Maltese, for some reason"—and the country needs to get in shape to reduce pressure on the National Health Service, reports Reuters. Johnson, who spent several nights in intensive care and reportedly blamed his weight for the severity of the illness, admitted that he had taken a "very libertarian stance on obesity" in the past, when he strongly opposed measures including a sugar tax, the Evening Standard reports.
"We certainly must have a care for the health of our population and we will be happier and fitter and more resistant to diseases like COVID if we can tackle obesity," Johnson said. “It is hugely costly for the NHS." The prime minister—who declined to say whether he now supports a sugar levy—said he is now feeling "very well" and had lost weight during his April stay in intensive care "as you do in ICU." During an interview with the Mail on Sunday, the prime minister started doing push-ups to prove he was "as fit as a butcher's dog." "Don't tell me Boris is going to start topless horse-riding like Putin!" quipped one Twitter user, per the Independent. (Read more United Kingdom stories.)