Eating like the English could save 4,000 lives a year in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, a study claims.People in England eat more fruit and vegetables and less salt and fat, reducing heart disease and some cancers, say Oxford University experts.
A tax on fatty and salty foods and subsidies on fruit and vegetables could help close the diet divide, they add.The British Heart Foundation says the study shows inequalities in the nations that must be addressed by authorities.
Death rates for heart disease and cancer are higher in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland than in England, according to official figures.Diet is known to be an important factor. Last year researchers estimated that more than 30,000 lives a year would be saved if everyone in the UK followed dietary guidelines on fat, salt, fibre, and fruit and vegetables.
Now, the same experts – from the Department of Public Health at the University of Oxford – have turned their attention to differences within the UK.They looked at whether deaths from heart disease, stroke and 10 cancers linked with poor diet could be prevented in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, if everyone switched to the typical English diet.They say the diet in England is far from perfect – but should be achievable in other UK countries.