DoH 'fails to lower obesity or alcohol misuse'

DoH public health programmes have reduced deaths from circulatory diseases and cancer, but have failed to lower levels of obesity or cases of alcohol misuse, according to a report by two health watchdogs.

The Healthcare Commission and the Audit Commission report today found that in England between 1996 and 2006, premature deaths in the under-75s from circulatory diseases fell 45 per cent and those from cancer dropped 15 per cent.

But the report found that these rates of improvement were not matched in the areas of alcohol misuse and obesity.

Deaths from alcohol consumption in men doubled from 9.1 deaths per 100,000 in 1991 to 18.3 in 2006. For women, the rate increased from 5.0 to 8.8 deaths per 100,000 over the same period.

A third of school age children were found to be overweight or obese.

Ann Walker, the Healthcare Commission’s chief executive, said: ‘The government has begun to tackle the big killers but more needs to be done on some of the main issues affecting our health such as obesity, alcohol and smoking.

‘The government should also apply lessons learned from its most effective programmes to ensure that the problems of obesity and alcohol misuse do not derail health improvement in the future.’

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