15/03/2012 12:53 GMT

Experts Warn Over Britain's Pill-Popping Culture

Britain is a nation of pill-poppers who use drugs to beat aches and pains instead of changing their diet and lifestyle, a recent study has warned.

According to researchers from the Oxford Institute of Population Ageing, nearly 7m Brits are taking cholesterol-lowering statins and the use of drugs to prevent or treat pain is likely to become more common in the future.

Professor Sarah Harper from the research has spoken out about Britain’s dependency on pain-relieving pills at the Oxford London Lecture 2012.

Harper said, as reported by the Telegraph: “I think we may be entering a world where preventable chronic disease will not be prevented by public health measures tackling lifestyles, but increasingly by drug therapies which will control and reduce symptoms of chronic disease.

“We have to ask if we wish our future to be one where individuals at increasingly younger ages pop pills rather than eat healthily, stop smoking, reduce alcohol and take up exercise.

"Do we want 10-year-olds popping statins?”

Harper also pointed out that academics who advocate that people over 45 should take low-dose aspirin as a preventative to cancer are feeding the pill-popping culture.

"Drug therapies are fantastic, but we have to be careful that we don't just have drugs where there are healthy living alternatives,” Harper told the Telegraph.

In the UK, over 10 million people take sleeping pills each night to help them sleep and almost 80% of GPs routinely prescribe drugs, such as painkillers and antidepressants.

If you agree with Harper and believe that a good diet and alternative lifestyle changes should take priority when treating pain, take a look at our round-up of natural (pill-free) ways to beat pain.

Foods That Fight Pain