Today’s BBC News headlines confirmed what many of us already knew to be true, that it’s not possible to be fat and fit. Essentially if you’re obese but still have no risk factors for heart disease, just being significantly overweight in itself is harmful to health in the long term.
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.
Nuts, olive oil and vegetables are the best heart medicine ( too many prescriptions cause massive waste and harm the public).
It may be hard to believe, but poor diet now contributes to more disease and death than physical inactivity, smoking and alcohol combined (according to The Lancet). We have been guzzling sugar, refined carbohydrates and industrial vegetable oils as never before, with devastating consequences for public health. The combined costs of type 2 diabetes and obesity to the NHS and UK economy exceed £20 billion.
The announcement last week by the British chancellor George Osborne for the introduction of a sugary drinks tax was very welcome news. I have been campaigning for years with others that a tax on sugary drinks would be a major step forward to help combat obesity and many associated chronic diseases. In February 2013, after a year reviewing the evidence the Academy of Medical Royal colleges ( I sat on the steering committee) produced a ten point obesity action plan which included a tax on sugary drinks.
Cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, cancer and respiratory disease kill 35 million per year globally. In 2012, the UN advocated a new health goal of reducing avoidable deaths from non-communicable diseases by 25 per cent by 2025. It identified tobacco, alcohol and poor diet as central risk factors.
I am delighted to share that this week I was named in the “Debrett’s 500 most influential people in Britain” featured in the Sunday Times.
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?