Thursday, 24 October 2013

Britain, already no place for old men is also no place for children

Dame Sally Davies, England's Chief Medical Officer has produced a damning report, 'Our Children Deserve Better: Prevention Pays', in which she has said that the country should be 'profoundly ashamed' that child mortality rates in some of the poorest parts of the country were three times higher than rich regions. She makes the following points, that :

* death rates for kids under 17, run at 21.1 deaths per 100,000 in the deprived North-West and poorer London boroughs compared to 7.9 deaths per 100,000 in rich areas.

* the growing problem of vitamin deficiency was illustrated by the return of rickets, with about 800 cases a year, a childhood disease which affects bone development and causes bowed legs and is caused by a vitamin deficiency because children are eating less fish and eggs than in the past, widespread use of sunscreen and the fact that children are spending more time indoors.

* the mortality rate for to 0 to 14-year-olds is among the worst in Europe with five more children dying every day than in the best-performing country, Sweden.

* the fact that 12.5% of toddlers are obese, as are 17% of boys and 16% of girls aged up to 15, raises the prospect that the ‘long-term consequences are massive’.

Rickets, a scourge of Victorian Britain (right) was virtually eradicated after the Second World War mainly because, during and after the War, baby boomers like me were were given food supplements such as cod liver oil, a practice which stopped in the 1950s.

I could well have been in this queue of primary school kids lining up for their weekly dose of a nasty spoon of cod liver oil followed by a nice spoon of sweet, malt extract.

Dame Sally has asked the National Institute for Health and Care to examine whether or not it would be 'cost-effective' for the Government to pay for all children to receive daily drops of tablets containing vitamins A,C and D.

She concluded her report with :
' We cannot waste the lives of children, we need to ensure we have a healthy population able to ensure our continued economic viability; we need to make sure our children start school ready and able to learn, and leave school fit for work. Such strong evidence should never be ignored: rarely in health are there such opportunities to improve lives as well as show economic benefit – surely addressing this means acting not just because our hearts tell us to do so, but because, with increasingly clear evidence, our heads should also encourage us. '

So Sweden, already the best country in Europe for old men is also the best place in Europe for healthy children.


My earlier post :

Britain is no country for old men 'confirmed' by the United Nations Global Age Watch

Monday, 14 October 2013

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