You saw the headlines I’m sure, ‘NHS prevention plan aims to boost healthy life expectancy,’ 

The Health Secretary is quoted as saying that the NHS spends 10 times more money on treatment than prevention.  He recommended that bosses should do more to keep staff healthy and that people should be “”Making better choices by limiting alcohol, sugar, salt and fat.”  Mr Hancock also says: “It’s about people choosing to look after themselves better, staying active and stopping smoking.

Its only my bumble opinion but isn’t all of that a little too late?  The horse has already bolted!  I suppose we must be grateful though that things may be moving in the right direction, because there is no doubt in my mind that prevention is definitely better than cure, we need to encourage everyone to take responsibility for their own health and well being and  eschew the ‘pill for every ill’ culture.

I asked nutritional therapist and author of How Food Shapes Your Child Louise Mercieca for her view.

louise mercieca

‘The suggestions all may sound fairly straight forward? A little too simplistic if you ask me! I wholeheartedly agree that too much money, time and attention is focused on treatment rather than prevention.  I am all for preventative health and as you know I look to do this via nutrition.   There are many problems with the statement of ‘people choosing to look after themselves better’.  Here’s my thoughts: –

  • People may think that they are making healthier choices, many ‘healthy’ food products and diet alternatives can actually cause weight gain.
  • People may have underlying emotional issues in their response to food. This is often what triggers over-eating and weight gain
  • People generally have an unhealthy gut – this leads to weight gain and many other health conditions, more emphasis should be placed on feeding our gut microbiome as this will then support us effectively!
  • There is a general lack of understanding over what eating healthily really means, this is not helped by the misleading and often contradictory information in the media about food.

Then there is the statement of “bosses should do more to keep staff healthy”.  Now I am all for Employee Well-Being but where does the responsibility lie and what support is there for bosses to address these issues? I can imagine how a clumsy approach to tackling this issue will do considerably more harm than good!

What would I like to see happen? My view is educate people to make empowered food choices.  People trust the food labelled as ‘healthy’ and ‘diet’ and feed themselves and their children with foods that are probably not the best choices for overall health and weight management.  Many foods sneak in far too much sugar and salt so it is not necessarily the individuals consuming too much sugar and salt knowingly!

louise mercieca How-Food-shapes-mock-up-1

My aim via my book How Food Shapes Your Child takes nutrition back to basics – what does food actually do for us? When we get the balance right weight management occurs naturally and healthily.  Prevention is possible.  Many lifestyle diseases and health conditions can certainly be managed if not prevented entirely from good nutrition.  If we start to get this right with children today we may not be seeing many of the health problems in adults tomorrow.’

For more recipes check out  ‘How Food Shapes Your Child’

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