Poor diet costs UK health service three times more than smoking

By staff reporter

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Health Nutrition Public health

The UK's poor dietary habits are costing its health service an
annual £6 billion (€8.9bn) - three times as much as the financial
toll from smoking - suggests a new study.

Researchers from the University of Oxford say their findings underscore the need for more specific government health targets on diet, equivalent to those already in place for smoking.

The investigators used data from the World Health Organization's burden of disease project, calculating the proportion of ill health and deaths attributable to food. The definition included food poisoning as well as dietary habits.

They then carried out an extensive review of published studies on the financial and health costs of disease and deaths related to food consumption, using a composite term to describe the impact of ill health and death, known as DALYs (disability adjusted life years).

They report in the latest issue of Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health​ that 37 per cent of DALYS were attributable to food related diseases, with just a fraction of this (0.2 per cent) attributable to food poisoning. Cardiovascular disease, cancer, and diabetes account for most of this.

Diet is not responsible for all cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and cancer, which account for 28 per cent of health service costs or a total £18 billion in 2002, but the authors calculate that food accounts for around a third, or 10 per cent of all DALYS, at an annual cost £6 billion.

This is double the cost to the health service of road traffic accidents, over three times the cost of smoking, and significantly higher than the cost of obesity, estimated at £479 million.

The authors admit their calculations are crude, but suggest that they are probably reasonable.

"The estimates suggest that the burden of food related ill health is large, compared with say, smoking, and suggests that [it] has been neglected by health and food policy makers,"​ they write.

The British government is beginning to tackle children's diets with new public health campaigns and is looking at restricting advertising of junk foods. However it already has one of the highest rates of heart disease and obesity in Europe.

Related news

Show more

Related products

show more

Dynamic Duo - More Power, Less Fatigue

Dynamic Duo - More Power, Less Fatigue

Content provided by Enovate Biolife LLC | 27-Jun-2024 | White Paper

Better physical performance & vitality have deep connections to muscular as well as cardio-respiratory health.

Nextida: Precision where it matters

Nextida: Precision where it matters

Content provided by Rousselot | 01-Jun-2024 | Product Brochure

NEXTIDA™ is an innovative platform of specific collagen peptide compositions with new targeted health benefits. Built and backed by science, Nextida stands...

In Weight Management Go Beyond with Slendacor®

In Weight Management Go Beyond with Slendacor®

Content provided by PLT Health Solutions | 22-Feb-2024 | White Paper

Slendacor® is a synergistic, patented formulation of three standardized herbal extracts: turmeric (Curcuma longa), moringa (Moringa oleifera) and curry...

Sweetening solution for active nutrition

Sweetening solution for active nutrition

Content provided by ADM | 19-Feb-2024 | Case Study

When you add GrainSweet® Liquid Maltodextrin to your active nutrition applications, you get the production efficiencies, clean labels, and clean tastes...

Related suppliers

Follow us

Products

View more

Webinars