As part of a Government-backed drive to make people look after themselves middle-aged Britons are being urged to get off their couches and cut down on unhealthy food.
Stark warnings about the risks of drinking and obesity form part of a new Public Health England (PHE) campaign, called One You, which has been billed the biggest national health drive since Change4Life.
‘Around 40% of all deaths in England are related to poor lifestyles, such as smoking, drinking too much and being sedentary.’
AdvertisementPHE said evidence shows that living healthily in mid-life can double a person's chances of staying healthy aged 70 and older. Around 40% of all deaths in England are related to poor lifestyles, such as smoking, drinking too much and being sedentary.
The NHS spends more than £11 billion a year on treating illnesses caused by the effects of diet, lack of exercise, smoking and drinking alcohol. The direct cost to the NHS of obesity and people being overweight is estimated to be £6.1 billion a year, while lack of exercise costs around £900 million a year. Alcohol misuse costs the NHS £3.5 billion a year.
At an initial cost of £3.5 million, PHE's One You campaign urges people to do more to look after themselves by eating better, taking exercise and shedding pounds.
A campaign across the internet, TV, social media and in public places - aimed at England but reaching other parts of the UK - will urge people to test how healthy they are via a new quiz. Their results will be fed back to them and "behavioral changes" suggested, such as signing up to a slimming club or downloading an app to take more exercise.
England's chief medical officer, Professor Dame Sally Davies, said: "We all have the power to shape our future health by making simple and small changes now. One You campaign acknowledges that this can be difficult and is there to help make these changes easier." Professor Sir Muir Gray, clinical adviser for the One You campaign, said: "Many diseases that impact people's health and shorten their active lives can be prevented.
Currently, 42% of adults in mid-life are living with at least one long-term health condition which increase their risk of early death and disability." "Although it has been customary to blame people for their lifestyle, we now appreciate that we need to take into account the environmental pressures that make it difficult to make healthy choices, having to sit eight hours a day at work for example, and then drive an hour home."
Jonathan Isaby, chief executive of the TaxPayers' Alliance, said: "Educational campaigns can be useful but costs must be kept down, particularly at a time when families up and down the country are having to budget hard. "It is important that the campaign is informative rather than patronising and that large amounts of taxpayer-funded resources aren't wasted on simply stating the obvious."
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