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Real Wealth is Health

March 25, 2020
Mark Killick
photo of obese people walking in the street

When we finally come out of the other end of this crisis will there be a needed paradigm shift in our thinking about health. Will we, as individuals, empower ourselves to take care of our health with informed diet and lifestyle choices, before falling ill with chronic disease. And will the food industry stop manufacturing and marketing food that contributes to diseases such as obesity and type 2 diabetes, by taking their responsibility seriously?

Coronavirus has sparked a staggering growth in online searches for foods with functional benefits. Consumers have been searching online for information on foods such as kombucha and elderberry as they become self-empowered to take care of their own health outcomes.

But should the food industry now step up and stop pushing nutritionally poor, processed, high-sugar foods just to satisfy shareholder profits? This is further reinforced by an NHS audit revealing that over three quarters (76.5%) of coronavirus patients are overweight.

The report from the London-based Intensive Care National Audit and Research Centre (ICNARC) looked at the data of 196 patients admitted to critical care with COVID-19 up to 20th March 2020. Of these, 57 were female and 139 were male, with an average age of 64. Only 23 of the patients previously required ‘some assistance with daily activities’ prior to the onset of acute illness. The rest, 155, were previously independent and able to live without assistance.

The NHS tells us that a BMI of 25 to 29.9 means that you are overweight; 30 to 39.9 means that you’re obese; and above 40 means that you’re severely obese.

Out of the 196 patients in critical care, 56 patients had a BMI of 25-30, 58 had a BMI of 30-40, and 13 had a BMI of 40 or over.

Coronavirus can cause more severe symptoms and complications in people with obesity-related conditions, according to the World Health Association.

Is it time that the food industry put people’s health before profit?

There is no doubt that poor diet and lifestyle choices can put an incredible strain on health service resources, but the food industry still turns a blind eye and is happy to promote high sugar and highly processed foods, known to negatively impact the health of the nation.

Professor Christopher Elliott, Professor of Food of Food Safety at Queen’s University Belfast and the founder of the Institute of Global Food Security tweeted recently,

“Quite a number of us had warned about how our diet is killing us. The statistics show that ¾’s of critically ill coronavirus patients are overweight. Another focal point once we get COVID done.”

The food industry and the general public should take note. We can make the correct dietary and lifestyle choices that positively impact our health. Take control of your health!