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Panorama to reveal soaring price of obesity and preventable disease


A generation of children could die before their parents because preventable diseases such as obesity and tooth decay are reaching epidemic levels, doctors at one of the UK’s leading hospitals warned.

Medical staff from Liverpool’s Alder Hey Children’s Hospital said there has been a considerable increase in the amount of time spent dealing with the avoidable conditions.

Dr Steve Ryan, medical director at Alder Hey, told the BBC: “It just shouldn’t be happening. These children should not be suffering from these problems and they should not be here at this hospital.

“People are starting to say maybe this is a generation where children will be dying before their parents.”

Alder Hey is one of Europe’s biggest children’s hospitals, providing care for more than 200,000 children each year.

BBC’s Panorama programme claimed that millions of pounds and and hundreds of hours of treatment time were being spent treating obesity, tooth decay, alcohol abuse and health complaints associated with passive smoking.

The programme - Spoilt Rotten? will be shown on BBC One at 9pm Tonight.


Readers' comments (3)

  • Education is the answer but it`s not getting through. There isn`t enough of a desire for individuals and families to want to change habits, but also these habits have built up over a lifetime and are hard to change. Convenience food is also so much cheaper than fresh. I don`t know how people aren`t ashamed. I let my daughter have some fizzy pop (not coke) at weekend, as a treat but made a big fuss over how it was a treat and she would have to spend longer brushing her teeth that night. I don`t want to inflict my bad habits on my child. Some just don`t care, I don`t know how they live with themselves.

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  • This statement is from the no s**t sherlock department of the school of bleeding obvious!

    Anonymous | 13-Apr-2010 2:56 pm has a serious point, lifetime habits are hard to break. But they can be broken if tough choices are made. How about these for starters:

    1) Start early, get back the playing fields for schools and ensure an hour of PE EVERY DAY!!!

    2) build more local council swimming pools and gyms and heavily subsidise them so that people don't have to pay a fortune to go.

    3) Drop taxes/VAT whatever on fresh fruit and veg so that they are a lot cheaper in shops, and increase taxes/VAT on those pathetic convenience/microwave meals.

    4) Make people pay for their lifestyle choices with the NHS, if you look after yourself, don't smoke/take drugs/drink excessively/ are a healthy weight (evidenced by body fat percentage, not using the defunct BMI) etc, then you will get free care/prescriptions, bumped up the queue with your choice of hospitals etc. If you are obese/a smoker/you drink excessively/take drugs, etc etc, then you will be refused treatment on the NHS or charged for your care.

    Extreme? Maybe. But maybe extreme measures are needed.

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  • This programme is part of a reputation building exercise by Alder Hey children's hospital that we all remember was at the centre of the organ retention scandal between 1988 and 1995 - they were taking organs children who had died in the hospital without permission. They were also selling thyroid glans they had removed from patients on to a pharmaceutical company, again without permission. Up until this point, the hosptial was considered to be a world class children's hospital.

    In the circumstances I think the hosptial should just get on with the job of treating people and stop moaning about their patients and holding them up to ridicule and comment as part of a TV documentary. The patients who were attacked in the programme, very sportingly did not mention the scandal which I thought was very restrained of them and it is a shame that the hospital did not show the same level of restraint.

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