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Unhealthy diets cost the NHS £12bn every year

A recent study has identified that poor diets cost the NHS almost twice as much as the combined effect of alcohol and cigarettes.

The research, which was conducted by the WHO and Oxford University, concluded that, of the various lifestyle choices, poor diet and obesity now place the biggest economic load on the NHS.

Whilst experts acknowledged that the health risks associated with excess drinking and smoking are high, because a much higher proportion of the population have unhealthy diets, the overall impact on the NHS is much larger.

Whilst the proportion of adults that smoke has fallen by 50% in the last 40 years, the levels of obesity have increased four-fold, with 25% of adults now considered obese.

Poor diet and obesity have been linked to a number of different diseases including, most cancers, heart disease, stroke and diabetes.

The problem is being blamed on the erosion of basic cookery skills and an over-reliance on junk food. The average diet now contains excess levels of sugar and fat and this has increased the risk of acquiring many diseases.

For many people, the issue is that they eat too much and this leads to obesity which is related to a variety of health issues. However, there are also those who look healthy and slim, yet the fat and salt content in their diet places them at high risk of heart disease, stroke and other health conditions associated with elevated blood pressure

The research, which was financed by the British Heart Foundation, estimates that the cost of alcohol related diseases is £3.3bn, which is roughly the same as the cost of treatments associated with alcohol.

A spokesperson for the National Obesity Form explained that the staggering cost of managing diseases related to Britain’s poor diets was threatening to breach NHS budgets.

Those looking to improve their cookery skills can book themselves onto a cookery course.

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Experts predict a huge rise in obesity

According to a recent forecast the number of Britons classed as obese could rise to a shocking 26 million by the year 2030. The predicted rise is being blamed on an abundance of rich food, a lack of exercise and an unwillingness on the part of policymakers to tackle the problem.

It has been predicted that if the current trend continues, the number of clinically obese people in the United Kingdom will rise by eleven million over the next twenty years.

Experts have estimated that the additional cost of treating the resulting health problems would be around £2 billion per year.

Over the next twenty years, the increase in UK obesity is estimated to result in an extra 461,000 cases of heart disease, 130,000 of cancer and 668,000 of diabetes.

The prevalence of obesity amongst UK men is predicted to rise from 26 per cent to between 41 and 48 per cent. The percentage of obese women is estimated to increase from 26 per cent to between 35 and 43 per cent.

Many experts believe that the Government should be doing more to tackle the problem. In a recent interview with BBC breakfast, leading epidemiologist Prof. Klim McPherson claimed that, whilst the Government is taking action, obesity is still at alarming rates so it clearly isn’t doing enough.

Prof. McPherson believes that better food labelling and a tax on drinks that are high in sugar, are just two examples of the measures that the Government should be taking.

Dr Michael Knapton of the British Heart Foundation expressed his concern with the predicted figures for heart disease and obesity in the United Kingdom. He also called on the Government to take a lead role by making it easier for people to be healthy.

Dr Knapton believes that the Government should focus on ensuring that children are protected from junk-food marketing.

For those that want to improve their diet but lack the basic skills to prepare healthy food the Gables Cookery School in Gloucestershire offers a one day cookery course which may be of interest.