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Independents' Day

Lifestyle changes: 'a will for all ills'

From Dr John Havard, Saxmundham, Suffolk

The Government is waking up to the fact that exercise is a cost-effective way of improving health.

Currently two-thirds of UK citizens are overweight so it seems that this is the first generation that can expect shorter lives despite dramatic medical advances. Now the traditional infective killers are at bay, it is lifestyle that is the most important determinant of longevity.

The problems of obesity

and smoking both demand a holistic team approach to demonstrate that healthier people are happier and more fulfilled.

It may well be that swimming, walking and cycling are less appealing activities nowadays – in which case other exercise such as clubbing or salsa dancing should be aggressively promoted.

Being fit not fat has to be both desirable and achievable and we all need to focus on healthier lifestyles as the key

to improving our national health.

Whereas many adults are giving up smoking, 14-year-old girls are the peak group for starting the habit. We seem

to be wasting our breath warning these youngsters about heart and lung disease – maybe we should concentrate on ageing skin and teeth becoming discoloured, which are things that really matter to this group.

A 'pill for all ills' should be replaced by 'a will for all ills'

as motivation becomes more important than science.

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