Prevention is better than cure: our vision to help you live well for longer
On 5th November, the government released their vision for putting prevention at the heart of the nation's health.
The document sets out the government’s vision for:
- stopping health problems from arising in the first place
- supporting people to manage their health problems when they do arise
The goal is to improve healthy life expectancy by at least 5 extra years, by 2035, and to close the gap between the richest and poorest.
Matt Hancock, Health and Social Care Secretary, said of the plan: “Prevention is also about ensuring people take greater responsibility for managing their own health. It’s about people choosing to look after themselves better, staying active and stopping smoking. Making better choices by limiting alcohol, sugar, salt and fat.
“But focusing on the responsibilities of patients, isn’t about penalising people. It’s about helping them make better choices, giving them the all the support we can, because we know taking the tough decisions is never easy.”
Reducing salt intake is internationally recognised as a priority preventive measure for public health and benefits all demographics, particularly the socially deprived. We were pleased to see salt mentioned in the vision document, with a commitment to further work to reduce population salt intake:
“The Government has also been clear that salt intake needs to reduce. This is vital for reducing the risk of heart disease. Good progress has already been made with the voluntary salt reduction reformulation programme, which has been successful in driving down population intakes of salt by 11% between 2005 and 2014. However, adults in England are consuming an average of eight grams of salt per day, which is still a third more than the recommended amount. 63 A further reduction in average salt intake to six grams per day is estimated to prevent over 8,000 premature deaths each year and save the NHS over £570 million annually. We will put forward realistic but ambitious goals to bring salt levels down further. By Easter 2019, the Government will set out the details of how this goal will met.”
Action on Salt strongly agree that prevention is key to lowering the burden of non-communicable diseases in the UK and worldwide. However, without addressing the environmental, societal and economic reasons that shape our choices, we do not feel that the way forward with prevention is passing responsibility to the public. The government can and must do more to create healthier environments that enable healthier choices.
To view the full vision document, please click here.