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Supermarkets fail to encouage Britons to eat healthily and binge drinking prevention measures

The Guardian reports today that the government’s controversial and voluntary public health ‘Responsibility Deal’ has come under attack from the consumer group Which? for failing to make food and drink firms and supermarkets do more to encourage Britons to eat healthily.

In a report published today, Which? said many initiatives such as cutting salt and removing harmful trans fats were already under way before the scheme was launched, while newer ones such as the drive to increase vegetable and fruit consumption were too ‘vague’ to be meaningful.

In an open letter to the public health minister, Anna Soubry, Which? executive director Richard Lloyd warned that the UK was facing ‘a public health crisis’. He wrote: ‘Around one quarter of people are now obese and diet-related illnesses, such as cancers, heart disease and strokes, are the major killers. Which? research shows that nine out of 10 of us want to eat more healthily, but many people say they have difficulty putting this into practice.’

Elsewhere, the BBC reports that clinical networks which oversee the care of cancer, heart and stroke patients in the NHS have had their budgets and staff cut.

Some of the groups say they are postponing projects due to uncertainty from the changes made in England.

The data comes as a result of Freedom Of Information (FOI) questions put to the networks by Labour.

More than 75% of the clinical networks responded to the FOI request.

The cancer teams said funding had been cut by around 25%, and 73 staff had been lost since 2009.

The teams looking after heart and stroke care said their funding had been cut by 12% and 38 posts had gone in the past three years.

Finally the Independent says a new report by thinktank Demos calls for parents to drink less in front of their children if they want to prevent their offspring becoming binge drinkers.

The report authors said that this did not mean that parents  ‘can never drink in the presence of their children. But it does mean that parents should bear in mind how frequently they are drinking – particularly in front of their children.’

The two-year study, Feeling the Effects, studied the lives of 17,000 in Birth Cohort Study and in-depth interviews with 50 families where there was at least one problem drinkers.