These Four Lifestyle Changes Could 'Prevent 250,000 Premature Deaths By 2025'

'We have seen worrying increases in obesity levels and Type 2 diabetes.'

A quarter of a million people in the UK will die from preventable health conditions by 2025 if current lifestyle habits continue, a new report has suggested.

Researchers examined future trends for the most common long-term conditions such as coronary heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, cancer, chronic lung disease, arthritis and dementia.

The report found that women are on track to meet the World Health Organisation's aim of a 25% reduction in premature deaths from these conditions. However in men, there is still some way to go before reaching the target, PA reported.

Experts said more needs to be done to address the UK's rate of premature death, otherwise an estimated 250,000 people will die from avoidable health issues over the next decade.

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Dr Peter Scarborough, lead author of the report which was commissioned by The Richmond Group of Charities, said: "In recent years we have seen great improvements in cardiovascular disease, cancer and other chronic disease rates thanks both to improvements in treatment and healthier lifestyle choices such as fewer people smoking.

"However, we have also seen worrying increases in obesity levels and type 2 diabetes, and there is much more that we could achieve to improve population diets and physical activity levels."

Researchers have listed a number of national policy interventions which they believe could help bring the number of premature deaths and disabilities caused by common long-term health problems down.

The interventions focus on four major lifestyle changes: preventing smoking, cutting alcohol consumption, improving diet and encouraging people to exercise more.

Researchers said with these interventions, which include raising the prices on high strength, cheap alcohol and reformulating packaged food, many lives could be saved.

They also recommend redesigning urban environments to prioritise walking and cycling to help reduce physical inactivity, reducing portions sizes and further restricting the marketing of alcohol and unhealthy food.

The Richmond Group report said there would be 26,000 fewer deaths if food was reformulated to reduce salt, sugar and portion size.

Meanwhile an increase in tobacco tax could prevent 2,450 deaths and restrictions on alcohol marketing could result in 78,000 fewer deaths over the next decade, they said.

Paula Reid, policy manager at the charity Rethink Mental Illness, said of the report: "This shines a much needed light on the desperate need for an overhaul in the way many common and preventable health conditions are treated and managed, in order to address this shocking rate of premature death."

Dr Alison Tedstone, chief nutritionist at Public Health England, added that we are constantly bombarded with information encouraging us to consume more calories, leading to weight gain - and this must be stopped.

"This is why our evidence review on how to help people cut down on sugar proposes controls on marketing, advertising and promotions of high sugar products and reducing the sugar in food and drink," she said.

Lynda Thomas, chief executive of Macmillan Cancer Support, added: "We call on the government to take the decisive actions recommended in this report so that the right support is in place to enable people to live well for longer."

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