Lifestyle issues fuelling health inequalities in Scotland, CMO warns

High obesity levels and alcohol consumption continue to fuel health inequalities in Scotland, the chief medical officer's (CMO) annual report has warned.

Sir Harry: infectious diseases continue to ‘pose a considerable threat to the population of Scotland’.
Sir Harry: infectious diseases continue to ‘pose a considerable threat to the population of Scotland’.

The latest report by Sir Harry Burns, chief medical officer for Scotland, said there remained ‘unacceptable levels of ill health’ resulting from obesity, poor diet and excessive alcohol consumption in Scotland. The harm caused by such risks was ‘inequitably distributed across society’ he added.

He said that, although legislation and community action had reduced the harm from smoking, improvements in other areas ‘have yet to be realised’.

Looking back over 2010, Sir Harry also warned that infectious diseases continued to ‘pose a considerable threat to the population of Scotland’.

Infections led to ‘significant numbers of people having to attend their GP or being admitted to hospital as an emergency’, he said.

‘2010 has seen welcome reductions in the levels of some infections especially healthcare associated infections and vaccine preventable diseases,’ he said.

‘However the rise in the number of new cases of tuberculosis, HIV, hepatitis C, campylobacter infection, gonorrhoea, Chlamydia and Lyme disease demonstrates the continuing need for action on the underlying reasons as to why people are falling ill with these conditions, our management responses to such threats and on the prevention of onward transmission of infection from them.'

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