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Last Updated: Wednesday, 25 February, 2004, 09:52 GMT
'We need to improve public health'
Niall Dickson, Kings Fund
Mr Dickson called on the government to act
Derek Wanless, the former chief executive of NatWest and a current advisor to the Treasury, is publishing a major report on improving the nation's health.

Niall Dickson, chief executive of the health think tank The King's Fund, tells the BBC why the government must take its findings seriously.

"This government and the government before concentrated for very good reasons on healthcare and improving the health service, dealing with people who were sick and were waiting to long.

"But they have a juggernaut that is heading towards them - rising obesity, smoking levels that haven't really been dealt with, rising diabetes and the re-emergence of TB - a whole series of public health issues.

"I think politicians and the public are just beginning to wake up.

They should improve food labelling and encourage schools to do more than they are doing now
"All this effort that is being put into making our health service more efficient will, in a sense, be to no avail if this huge tidal wave of illness because of poor lifestyle hits us over the next 20 years," he says.

"There are now serious warnings that our children may not live as long as the current generation because of changing lifestyles.

"This is not necessarily the fault of government. The fact is we are living different lifestyles, lifestyles that are more unhealthy. We are more sedentary and take less exercise.

"It really needs a lot more serious action from politicians.

"We have had endless reports on this subject the question is can they find the means by which they encourage us to live more healthy lives.

"I think they should improve food labelling and encourage schools to do more than they are doing now to make children fit and eat more healthily."


SEE ALSO:
Study doubts health drive gains
25 Feb 04  |  Health


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