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The Conclusions of the Chief Medical Officer’s Report on Health

Every year the UK’s Chief Medical Officer releases a report on the health of the nation, what factors are affecting people’s general health as well as mortality rates.  Of course, the state of someone’s health plays a central role in how well they enjoy their life and what decisions they make in their personal life.

However, it is generally recognised that health also has a direct impact on their individual productivity and thereby the productivity of the sector where they work.  Financial research is absolutely vital because general health has a knock-on effect on the economic prosperity of the country as a whole.  For example, it can affect what jobs people do, when they decide to retire and their entitlement to health-related social security benefits.

The 2018 report, by Dame Sally Davis, suggests that there are reasons for optimism, but still more needs to be done.  One positive note for 2018 was the introduction of the soft drinks industry levy in April.  This extra tax on beverages which contained too much sugar caused 50% of manufacturers to reduce how much sugar their drinks contained so that it fell beneath the accepted threshold.  Three out of the four big supermarkets in the UK also cut how much sugar there was in their own label soft drinks to avoid paying this extra levy.

It is generally recognised that dietary choices made for/by children in childhood have effects on health later on in adulthood.One cause for concern is the fact that milk- and fruit-based drinks are exempt from this levy because they also contain vitamin C and calcium.  The recommendation is that considering nearly a third of English children (31%) show signs of dental decay by their 5th birthday, this ‘sugar tax’ should be extended to include all beverages.  Equally important is the fact that commercial infant and baby food also contain unacceptably high levels of sugar.  It is therefore important that the levy should apply to other foodstuffs in the future.

One of the aspects Dame Davis highlighted in her report was how life expectancy in England and Wales has generally been on the rise over successive centuries, but how it has stalled for certain groups, especially since 2010.  The research which has been done would tend to suggest that this change coincided with the introduction in that year of austerity measures.  For many people, same day funding from a new direct lender has had a positive effect on their lives since it is a fast lending option when they need money.

It is quite clear that for some groups of society financial problems often lead to a poor diet and that this in turn has an impact on health.  Pre-packaged, frozen and tinned foods all have higher levels of saturated fats, salt and/or sugar and are unhealthy, but they are cheap.  If health has an effect on the country’s economy, this shows that economic policy also has an impact on health.

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