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Healthy Messages Not Getting Through:

Thursday, January 22nd, 2009 Healthy Messages Not Getting Through:

With reference to an article by Sarah Boseley (16 12 08) of the Guardian. She argues that few people know and understand the ­government’s guidelines on healthy eating, smoking and drinking despite the millions of pounds spent on awareness campaigns.

In lay-mans terms, information from the annual Survey for England has made known that although issues such as obesity have doubled in the last 14 years, two-thirds of men and women do not know the amount of exercise they should be taking.

Furthermore it has been revealed that as few as 27% of males and 31% of females eat their recommended five portions of fruit and vegetables on a daily basis. Hitherto, 14% of men and 11% of women could always correctly identify a portion of fruit or vegetables.

Alarmingly, less than a third knew the maximum amount of alcohol that should be consumed.

Significantly, there is no evidence to support people are smoking less as a direct result of the smoking ban introduced in July 2007. In contrast however, saliva samples taken to measure cotinine levels (an indicator of exposure to nicotine) suggested fewer people are lighting up.

The 2007 report published by the NHS Information Centre, revealed tha obesity had steadily climbed over thre last 14 years.

Lookinfg back historically, 13% of men and 16% of women were obese in 1993. However by 2007 this had climaxed to 24% for both male and female.

Notwithstanding, the consumption of fruit and vegetables has increased, exercise has improved. Unfortunately, this bit of information fails to give clear direction with reference to who the audience is and how it has been tackled.

Nevertheless the report has pointed out that there is a clear link between unhealthy diet and poor health and and premature death, which is costing the NHS more than £2bn. “A government consultation into issues concerning healthy eating (2004) highlighted the need for the population to have suf?cient information and knowledge to make informed choices about their diet,”

In addition “The subsequent government white paper ‘Choosing a better diet: a food and health action plan’, identified a number of priorities for action surrounding health and nutrition, and to contribute to a reduction in cardiovascular disease, cancer and obesity, through encouraging the population to adopt a healthy lifestyle.”

According to the Medical Director of the NHS Information Mark Davies, he states, “It is important that people understand the health implications of the lifestyle choices they make. It is of concern that the ­messages of safe alcohol intake, ­appropriate exercise levels, and healthy eating do not seem to be getting through to all parts of the population. This is ­something the country needs to address if we are to avoid significant health ­problems in the near future.”

However, Dawn Primarolo, The public health minister says, “Thanks to the Know Your Limits campaign more people now know how many units are in their drinks. And the smokefree law is the single most important public health initiative for a generation. Because of the new smokefree law, thousands of lives will be saved and the health of everybody is being protected.”

There are very mixed messages here, and for clear accurate information, independently sourced data is required.

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