Dr Aseem Malhotra
NHS Consultant Cardiologist

The Government setting up a new Office for Health Promotion to cut the burden of chronic disease and improve health inequalities is very welcome news. Eighty percent of an individuals’ health is not about hospitals or GP practices but lifestyle and surroundings.

Our failure to tackle the conditions driven by excess body fat such as Type 2 diabetes, heart disease and cancer has also been responsible for the UK having one of the highest Covid death rates in the world. Poor diet, too much alcohol, inactivity and stressful jobs are also now costing the UK economy £100billion per year. To solve this we must acknowledge the wider root causes are driven by the commercial sector. Big Food misleads with labelling and spends billions targeting children and the most vunerable with junk food advertising. As a result, more than half of the calories consumed in the British diet is ultra-processed fattening foods high in starch, sugar and unhealthy oils loaded with additives and preservatives.

The pharmaceutical industry, meanwhile, manipulates research results and hides data on harms. Side effects of prescribed medication are the third highest cause of death after heart disease and cancer. You can’t drug people into being healthy. It’s time to stop having too much medicine and to just eat real food.