LAST week saw the most conclusive evidence yet of the relationship between high levels of overweight people and death rates from coronavirus.

According to the report by the World Obesity Federation, approximately 2.2 million of the 2.5 million global deaths from the pandemic have taken place in countries with the highest percentages of overweight people.

In countries where more than half the adult population have a BMI of over 25, death rates have been ten times higher.

In the UK (where 64% of us are either overweight or obese) just 20% of the Covid patients in intensive care are of normal weight.

Back in the summer, it seemed that Boris Johnson might do something about this.

As a response to his own experiences with Covid, when he went into hospital weighing seventeen and a half stone, he proceeded to lose weight as part of his recovery.

Having felt the benefits, he announced an obesity drive to help get the nation fitter and healthier.

These plans included bans on junk food advertising, removing chocolate, crisps and sweets from supermarket checkouts, and making restaurants and pubs display calories on menus.

Longer standing readers may remember that I had my own battles with health back in the summer.

I didn’t quite get as heavy as Boris, and being six and a half inches taller meant more height to deal with the extra pounds, but even with that, I was seriously overweight with a BMI of 29 and ended up in hospital for tests.

My reaction to coping with the first lockdown, I’m ashamed to say, was to eat and to drink my way through it. Pipers Crisps and beer from local brewery Dark Revolution kept me afloat during the summer months.

Having emerged from hospital thankfully unscathed, I knew that I needed to lose weight. I was therefore a prime candidate for the government’s obesity drive.

But the supposed government help and support was all but non-existent. When Boris announced the drive, he promised it would not be ‘excessively bossy or nannying’.

He did deliver on that, but little else. Public Health England, which usually leads such campaigns, found itself abolished.

By December, a study for the Social Market Foundation showed the obesity drive had been ‘largely ineffective’.

Losing weight is hard work. Since August I’ve done a lot of cycling and yoga, and cut out coffee and alcohol from my diet.

I’ve lost 10kg and feel a lot better for it. Don’t take this personally, but statistically, the majority of people reading this article could also benefit from losing a few pounds as well.

It’s just a shame the government won’t spend a few more themselves in helping people to do so.