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UK faces health crisis over poor nutrition

Leading health experts are warning that the UK is sleepwalking into serious illnesses from cardiovascular disease and osteoporosis to memory loss, thanks to poor diets deficient in vital nutrients. This dietary trend is despite the 5 A Day fruit and vegetable campaign launched 16 years ago – in fact more than two thirds (69%) of adults aged 19-64 fail to eat the recommended amount of fruit and vegetables.

A report from the Health & Food Supplements Information Service (HSIS); State of the nation: dietary trends in the UK – 20 years on. Where are we and where are we going? reveals the extent of such deficiencies, with the likelihood of a surge in chronic illnesses and premature mortality. Younger people are being warned that unless they improve their diets now, they face a significantly increased risk of serious health issues by the time they reach middle age, along with a reduced life expectancy. As well as a lack of fruit and vegetables, diets which restrict or remove certain foods – and crucial nutrients – severely reduce intakes of key vitamins and minerals that are needed to keep our bodies healthy and fuelled daily.

Dr Carrie Ruxton, dietitian and adviser to HSIS says: “In spite of the abundance of information on nutrition and health, UK diets have barely improved over the past two decades and there are worrying declines in intakes of vitamins and minerals across the board. Worse still, people seem to be ignoring public health advice. The fact that 80% of people do not take a vitamin D supplement, which is recommended by Public Health England for all population groups during the autumn and winter months, is a big worry.”

For more information visit www.hsis.org