There is no co-ordinated food and nutrition policy in Britain, primarily because it is still not recognized that diet has an important role to play in the development of many diseases of affluence. The demand for absolute proof of the dietary component of disease on a population level ignores both the innate biological susceptibility in only a portion of the population to a particular nutrient as well as the increasing evidence from studies on non-human primates that diet plays a key role in several conditions including heart disease. Government remains unsure of how to implement its own current recommendations and the traditional paternalistic and conservative approach delays action. Vested interests, seeking only short-term gains, are not confined to industrial concerns. Marketing Boards are allowed almost unfettered freedom to promote nutritionally undesirable eating habits. Health education in schools remains inadequate with most of the involved teachers still promoting incorrect concepts. The medical profession is still unwilling to take a physician maintaining treatment programmes for marginal effects on a public health problem. General practitioners are better able to start practising preventive medicine but they need to be helped by community physicians who should begin on their main task of implementing policies for preventing disease rather than limiting themselves to their current preoccupation with systems analyses and operational research.
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