Support for the NHS – linking health and food

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Extract from Guardian article citing US and UK health professionals writing in support of the NHS:

“As senior public health professionals, we must draw attention to the damage that the coalition government’s policies have done to the health of the British people. First, it placed “responsibility deals” with producers of junk food and alcohol at the centre of its public-health strategy. As its own evaluation confirms, these have achieved almost nothing. Second, it has delayed action on issues such as reducing the salt hidden in food, which researchers have linked to 6,000 additional deaths.

Third, it has failed to implement minimum unit pricing for alcohol, again in the face of research evidence that this would save thousands of lives. Fourth, its austerity policies can be linked to a reversal in the long-term downward trend in suicides, which have increased most where welfare cuts have been most severe. These policies have also contributed directly to a marked increase in food poverty, with growing numbers dependent on food banks. Fifth, it has failed to address the already poor health of British children. The areas where the government has made progress, such as standardised packaging for cigarettes and antimicrobial resistance, show what could have been done.

This reluctance to act, whether due to ideology, closeness to corporate interests or fears of being accused of “nanny-state tactics”, has been damaging to health and has led to many thousands of unnecessary deaths. Whatever government is elected this week, we call upon it to put evidence before ideology. The people’s health must come first.”

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