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The financial crisis and the NHS

20th October 2008

Lisa Rodrigues, chief executive of Sussex Partnership foundation trust on the financial crisis and a healthier lifestyle.

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The global financial crisis is as yet only having a peripheral effect on Sussex Partnership foundation trust.

Some costs have risen and the value of our assets has dropped, though we expect a rise in referrals with an increase in suicide rates as likely as personal financial positions worsen.

What we have seen during austere times in the past is the health of the nation improving: more took exercise and grew their own produce.

But some are trying to beat today’s credit crunch by stocking up with bumper packs of supermarket-brand crisps.

What would be better would be to ban junk food advertising and make personal training, healthy cooking and eating free in every school.

Fat people are rarely happy with their size but will not change their habits because of an advertising campaign. Fat, in the west, is associated with poverty – it is easier to grab a pizza or a biscuit than cook a nourishing meal.

There is little gain in telling poor children to exercise and eat better when their parents cannot cook or school cookery lessons have been phased out.

It is admirable that Jamie Oliver has again returned to this theme.

We must support access to physical activity, offer lessons on cooking healthy food on a budget and access to stop smoking facilities.

This will add "both life to years and years to life" for some of the most marginalised people in society.

 

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