Holly Willoughby forced to shut down heated coronavirus debate on This Morning ‘Leave it’

Holly Willoughby, 39, was once again on hand to host another weekday edition of This Morning alongside co-star, Phillip Schofield, 59. With the nation still gripped in the midst of the coronavirus outbreak, the pair wanted to give viewers as much information as they could on the health crisis. However, when they invited Dr Philippa Kaye and weight loss expert Steve Miller to speak about the news there could be a link between obesity and COVID-19, a heated debate ensued and forced the host to step in to cool things down.

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It’s been reported SAGE, the scientific group advising the Government on action against coronavirus, is investigating whether obesity could be one of the biggest risk factors in developing a more serious case of COVID-19.

This comes after evidence from the US is indicating those with a higher BMI are more likely to sustain severe complications if they contract the disease.

Data from the NHS last week also suggested someone who is classed as obese has a 40 percent greater risk of succumbing to the infection in hospital.

As the conversation turned to the research on This Morning and whether the category of the public should be shielding themselves, the guests challenged one another which led Holly to get involved.


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Dr Philippa advised viewers who may be worried: “You can speak to your GP. There are surgical treatments and bariatric surgery has evidence that it really makes a difference to obesity.”

Talking over the top of her, Steve added: “You’re telling me you want to throw people on an operating table.”

Replying, the medical expert said: “I’m talking about where the evidence is, actually, because most people who do manage to lose weight will then put that weight back on, plus more.”

Not sufficed with his fellow guest’s comments, the weight loss expert hit back: “Let me give you a challenge.”


“I challenge you to get me, three people, in your view whose genes will prevent them from losing weight and I spend a few months with them, maybe even living with them and let’s see if they can’t lose weight,” Steve added.

Dr Philippa replied: “And I will rebut that by saying this. A study population of three people with a huge amount of input into their diet and their exercise and their psyche is likely to work.

“But, that is not the same as a public health message for millions and millions of people.”

Before the weight loss expert could respond, Holly jumped in to shut the debate down, especially with how heated it got.

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We’re going to have to leave it there

Holly Willoughby

“We’re going to have to leave it there,” she said before thanking their guests for participating in the debate.

Taking to social media, those watching at home had shared their thoughts on the clash between the two guests.

One wrote on Twitter: “I didn’t mind that segment, at least we got arguments from both sides. #Balanced #ThisMorning.”

Another added: “I love Dr Philippa – what just happened?? #ThisMorning,” as a third posted: “#ThisMorning ah God!!!!! I am fuming now!!!”

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The research has been highlighted in a study conducted by New York University, with their results finding those of a BMI between 30 and 34 were more likely to be admitted to intensive care, compared to those who are under 30.

Findings published in Clinical Infectious Diseases stated although people under the age of 60 are deemed as a lower risk group, obesity can counteract this.

“Unfortunately, obesity in people [under 60] is a newly identified epidemiologic risk factor, which may contribute to increased morbidity rates experienced in the US.”

In the UK, the current total number of deaths from coronavirus stands at 28,734, with Britain now having the highest mortality rate in Europe.

This Morning airs weekdays at 10am on ITV.

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