The average British person eats too much salt, saturated fat and added sugars, and not enough fruit, vegetables, whole grains and oily fish.
Not only does poor diet increase the risk of cancer, heart disease and diabetes, it affects mental health and well-being. Research shows that people on low-incomes are less likely to eat healthy foods.
According to the Faculty of Public health, the annual cost of treating obesity related ill-heath to the NHS is estimated at over £5 billion, with the costs to wider society estimated at around £20 billion per year.
To what extent is personal choice affected by the food industry? Should the industry be doing more to promote healthier food? Should the government or industry set health benchmarks for food? Whose responsibility is it to educate children on eating well? Who should foot the bill for diet-related diseases?
The Food Ethics Council’s work on this issue includes the report of our Business Forum in May 2013, where we heard from Professor Sarah Harper (Professor of Gerontology at Oxford University and Director of the Oxford Institute of Population Ageing) and Professor Margot Gosney (Director of Clinical Health Sciences at University of Reading) about some of the many implications of an ageing population on the food system, including changing dietary needs of older people.