Yesterday myself and a number of prominent doctors, nutritionists, sports scientists and health campaigners wrote a letter to the medical schools council, the general medical council and the secretary of state for health calling for mandatory training for medical students and practicing doctors in evidence based lifestyle interventions to prevent and treat chronic diseases including type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
Last week I appeared on BBC Breakfast news to discuss calls from the UK’s Academy of Medical Sciences for more preventative medicines. In effect more healthy people to be taking medications to prevent the onset of disease. I have no issue with this as a concept but one of the reasons our current healthcare system is close to breaking point is that we have an overmedicated population with a total lack of transparency in the prescription of drugs. Often benefits are grossly exaggerated and side effects underplayed. If I was going to take a pill every day for many years I would want to know what is my actual benefit and what are/how common are the side effects that may interfere with my quality of life?
The majority of hospitals have made no plans to factor in Jeremy Hunt’s major changes to the NHS which will see seven day care and huge changes to Junior Doctor conditions.
Aseem Malhotra1&2, Mahiben Maruthappu3, Terence Stephenson4
Tackling the obesity epidemic and its asso- ciated adverse health consequences is one of today’s important public health chal- lenges. Obesity directly costs the National Health Service (NHS) about £6 billion per year. Direct and indirect costs of diabetes are estimated to be £24 billion and are likely to double over the next 20 years.1 Some fundamental among the medical and healthcare com- munity and lay public inhibit the imple- mentation of effective interventions. Our decisions about the food we buy and what we eat are often automatic and made without full conscious awareness.2For example, despite wanting to lose weight, we’re still tempted to buy the brightly packaged chocolate bar at the checkout till.
Two weeks ago, an article by Chris Snowdon appeared in the Spectator, entitled “The Big Fat Myths of our Obesity Epidemic“. It suggested that the health risks and costs to healthcare of obesity have been over-stated, and that obese people dying younger would actually help. Nothing could be further from the truth. Last week a remarkably similar article appeared in The Scotsman, written by Allan Massie.