Britons Poor Diets Cost System Millions

Diet and Nutrition | Articles


Poor eating habits in Britain are costing the country’s health service 6 billion pounds ($10 billion) a year — three times as much as smoking, public health experts said on Tuesday.

A preference for processed foods instead of fresh fruit and vegetables is contributing to illnesses such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes and some food poisoning.

“Food-related ill health is responsible for about 10 percent of morbidity and mortality in the UK and costs the National Health Services (NHS) about 6 billion pounds annually,” said Dr Mike Rayner, of the Department of Public Health at Oxford University.

“We eat too much fat, particularly saturated fat, too much sodium, too much added sugar and not enough fruit and vegetables,” he added in an interview.

They said 37 percent of National Health care costs were attributable to food-related diseases such as cardiovascular disease, cancer and diabetes, which accounted for 28 percent of health care costs in 2002 or 18 billion pounds.

Diet is not the only cause of those illnesses. But the researchers said it is well established that about a third of the diseases are related to diet.

“We think the government should pay more attention to the costs of food-related ill health,” said Rayner.
He suggested that a tax on unhealthy foods, banning the advertising of junk food to children and better labeling could improve the national diet.

“It is time, I think, to make it much clearer to consumers what are healthy and unhealthy foods by some sort of traffic-light labeling scheme — marking unhealthy foods with a red symbol and healthy foods with a green symbol,” said Rayner.

IF WE ONLY HAD A MR. RAYNOR IN THE US THAT WAS WORRIED ABOUT PEOPLE INSTEAD OF PROFITS. I THINK THIS WILL ONLY HAPPEN IN THE STATES WHEN YOU AND I DEMAND IT. Next year we will look for ways to influence our local health habits and those we love by talking to grocery stores in our area. I pray you will join us.

Dr. Benzinger

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