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Diet changes ‘could save lives’

4th January 2008

Over 70,000 lives could be saved every year through healthy eating, the government believes.

An interim paper from the Cabinet Office’s strategy unit predicts widespread shifts away from products high in saturated fats and sugar could help prevent one in ten of all deaths in the UK.

It warns current eating habits greatly increase the risk of obesity and says people should derive more of their energy from fruit and vegetables, whole grains and starchy foods.

“We will be using the analysis we are publishing today to inform the development of a radical long-term strategy to tackle obesity,” health minister Ivan Lewis said.

“This strategy to be published later this month will once again underline the centrality of prevention and public health at the heart of a modern NHS.”

Expectations are growing that the government will place greater expectations on individuals to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

On Tuesday prime minister Gordon Brown said the proposed NHS constitution would establish patients’ “responsibilities” as well as their “rights”.

Meanwhile, there has been a move by food producers to reduce the levels of trans fats in foods in a bid to improve the health of prepared meals.

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