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News in-depth: Diets in England 'better than rest of the UK'
4 Nov 2011

A new study has suggested that people in England may be less likely to get certain life-threatening diseases than those in Scotland, Ireland and Wales because their diet is better.

Research carried out at Oxford University looked at how people eat throughout Britain and also at the prevalence of illnesses such as heart disease and specific types of cancer.

It was found that Scots, Welsh and Irish citizens consume more calories and saturated fat than the English, as well as eating significantly fewer portions of fruit and vegetables.

The study's authors believe that if diets were improved so they became nutritionally level across the UK, then 3,700 deaths could be prevented every year.

"We are not holding up the English diet as perfect - it's certainly nothing like the Mediterranean diet - but clearly it is an achievable diet," explained Peter Scarborough from Oxford University's department of public health.

The British Heart Foundation has now said it wants inequalities in diets to be addressed by the government.

According to BBC News, a study last year also showed that 30,000 deaths a year could be prevented if Britons followed dietary guidelines on how much salt, fat, fruit and vegetables they should be consuming.

The findings appear to indicate that people may be finding it hard to understand exactly how to incorporate recommended daily intakes of nutrients into their diets, although some could be opting for unhealthy foods out of convenience.

Meanwhile, earlier in 2011, a study by the School Food Trust discovered that 60 per cent of packed lunches for children at school do not contain any fruit or vegetables, even though this may be leading them down a path of poor food choices and even illness later in life.

One way of ensuring children get at least one nutritious meal a day could be to sign them up to receive school dinners, as 90 per cent of these meals feature at least one fruit or vegetable.

Although secondary school pupils are able to choose what they eat themselves - and could therefore be buying chips every day - parents may have more control if the education provider is signed up to cashless catering such as that provided by sQuid.

Not only can mums and dads now top up their youngster's eMoney online, but they can also check what they are purchasing and encourage them to make nutritious choices to ensure they develop a healthy body and mind.

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