NICE advice to improve the food we eat will be focus of Heart of Mersey event this month
Heart of Mersey is hosting an event at the end of September to highlight NICE's guidance on how to prevent cardiovascular disease (CVD).
The guidance focuses on the food we eat and confirms the need for a ‘population-level' approach, as advocated by Heart of Mersey, says the charity's Chief Executive Robin Ireland.
“People know that healthy living advice is ‘be more active, don't smoke and eat a balanced diet'. But this time, the healthy living advice is for local authorities and other bodies who have a vital chance to greatly improve everyone's health.
“The guidance recommends that local authorities should use planning applications and bye-laws to control fast-food outlets - for example, limiting the concentration of those based within walking distance of schools, and within local communities.
“These steps will help reduce heart disease and improve the health of the nation.”
Robin, together with Heart of Mersey director of research Professor Simon Capewell, was on the NICE group that helped develop NICE's guidance, which was published in June.
Professor Mike Kelly, Public Health Director at NICE, explains: “This isn't about telling individuals to choose salad instead of chips - it's about making sure that the chips we all enjoy occasionally are as healthy as possible.”
Professor Klim McPherson, Chair of the NICE Programme Development Group and Professor of Epidemiology at Oxford University, added: “Where food is concerned, we want the healthy choice to be the easy choice.
“Going even further, we want the healthy choice to be the less expensive, more attractive choice.”
Specifically, the NICE guidance recommends that the amount of salt, sugar and saturated fat present in processed foods and take-aways should be cut down. This is important because, taking salt as an example, around 80% of what we consume is already in the food.
NICE also recommends eliminating industrially produced trans fats from these products.
Trans fats are a cheap way to prolong the shelf life of food, but there is clear scientific evidence showing that they are harmful. (They have been banned in Denmark and parts of the USA.)
CVD led to nearly 159,000 deaths in England in 2007. This included around 75,000 from coronary heart disease (CHD) and around 45,000 from stroke.
In 2006, more than 40,000 people died early (before the age of 75) due to CVD and currently, nearly three million men and three million women are living with the condition.
Merseyside and Cheshire have some of the highest death rates from CVD in the country - it accounted for over 56,650 years of life lost prematurely during 2006-08.
The Heart of Mersey event, entitled ‘NICE CVD prevention showcase' will provide an opportunity to hear from Robin, Mike, Klim and others involved in developing the guidance. It is taking place at Merseyside Maritime Museum, Albert Dock, Liverpool, from 1-5pm on 30 September 2010.
For further information
Call Heart of Mersey on 0151 928 7820 or reserve your place online.
This page was last updated: 06 September 2010