[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Tuesday, 22 November 2005, 00:16 GMT
'Get tough' on unhealthy - survey
Smoking and drinking
Many take a dim view on social vices
Many people favour taking a tough line with those who fail to look after their health, a survey has found.

A poll of more than 2,000 people by private health provider Bupa found 34% supported charges for treatment for people who smoke, drink or are obese.

More than four out of 10 favoured some sort of penalty for people they considered to have self-inflicted health problems.

And 8% said people who led an unhealthy lifestyle should be denied treatment.

More advice needed from the government - 40% support
Restrict junk food advertising to children - 41%
More government regulation of food manufacturers - 84%
Crackdown on media advertising of unhealthy lifestyles - 73%
Annual health screening for all adults - 75%
Government should be responsible for looking after people's health - 44%
Mandatory health and nutrition education for primary school children - 85%

The survey, which came ahead of Bupa's annual health debate, also found that 47% of people believed the government should increase taxes on cigarettes and alcohol.

Surprising findings

Dr Andrew Vallance-Owen, Bupa group medical director, said: "We were particularly surprised that people have taken such a hardline view on self-inflicted illnesses, with so many saying they should not be treated at all.

"Perhaps this shows a change in public mood and that compassionate Brits are a thing of the past.

"There is clear evidence from this study to support the view that individuals feel they should be accountable for their own health and well-being.

"But, although individuals are ultimately responsible for health, there is also an appetite for the government, and to a certain extent employers, to provide greater support and advice to help them maintain a healthy lifestyle."

Michael Summers, chairman of the Patients Association, said he had little sympathy for patients whose unhealthy lifestyle led to them draining valuable resources.

However, he said: "We have a health service that is free at the point of need, and you can't start changing the rules just because you don't like somebody's lifestyle.

"Some doctors still take the Hippocratic Oath at medical school, and I don't think that is what Hippocrates had in mind."

Mr Summers said the key was to educate people to avoid unhealthy lifestyles.

GPs back 'no show' fines
28 Aug 03 |  Health
A public health turning point?
20 Nov 04 |  Health

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific