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Poor diet a major contributor to adult health risk in England

Thursday 6th December 2018
New NHS research has shown the majority of adults in England are not eating or drinking in a healthy manner.
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The overwhelming majority of adults in England are putting their lives at risk through unhealthy consumption habits - not least when it comes to food.

This was one of the key conclusions of the latest NHS Health Survey for England, which revealed nine out of ten people had at least one unhealthy trait.

While this was not all about what people ate and drank - smoking and low levels of physical activity were also listed among negative factors - a very high proportion either ate unhealthily, drank too much, or both. 

Many are obese as a result of a combination of these factors, raising the risk of conditions such as diabetes, heart disease and strokes. 

High risk consumption in dietary terms was classed as those people who did not eat five portions of fruit and vegetables a day. In all, 33 per cent of men and 31 per cent of women had two high risk factors.

Poor diet contrasted with the figures for smoking, with only 17 per cent of adults now smoking, compared with 27 per cent in 1993. Vaping has been a key reason for this shift, although general smoking numbers have been on the decline for decades.

For the first time, the survey also looked at child health risks and compared them with their parents. This found that children were three times more likely to be obese if their parents were.

Caroline Cerny, of the Obesity Health Alliance, blamed the rise in childhood obesity on "increasingly obesogenic environments".

"Children today are bombarded by promotions for unhealthy food and drinks in stores and on the high street and exposed to countless junk food adverts online and during the TV programmes they watch most," she remarked. 

Growing obesity rates have been a problem across the globe and not just in Britain.

According to the latest data from the World Health Organization, in 2016 39 per cent of adults in the world were overweight and 13 per cent were obese. 41 million children around the world were overweight or obese.

Written by Martin Lambert

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