The Human Truth Foundation

The United Kingdom Suffers as a Result of Poor National Health

By Vexen Crabtree 2020

#british_culture #france #health #italy #obesity #trash_culture #UK #uk_health

The UK's National Security Risk Assessment output classes the state of the UK public health as a Tier 1 national risk, the most potent of the three categories1. It's a well-known and high-profile issue; half of all science stories in the UK media are medical2 although many of the claims made are dubious2.The UK does relatively well in encouraging good health, compared to many other countries. The UK comes in the best 20 for its food aid and health contributions and WHO compliance3. It does better than average in terms of its average life expectancy4, its suicide rate5, its adolescent birth rate6 (but bad for Europe), its fertility rate7 (but high for Europe) and in its immunizations take-up8. The UK does not succeed in everything, however. It does worse than average for its smoking rate9 (yet still one of the best in Europe) and in its alcohol consumption rate10. The prevalence of overweight adults has increased by 14% over the past 40 years.


1. UK's Health

#health

Compared to Europe (2020)11,12
Pos.Lower is better
Avg Rank11,12
1Norway62.0
2Switzerland65.6
3Finland65.9
...
17Cyprus79.3
18Slovenia79.8
19Slovakia80.1
20UK80.9
21Hungary81.0
22Macedonia81.5
23Malta81.6
24Poland82.5
25Albania82.8
Europe Avg83.5
q=44.
Health (2020)11,12
Pos.Lower is better
Avg Rank11,12
1Hong Kong18.0
2Singapore41.5
3Maldives43.3
...
48Tunisia80.0
49Slovakia80.1
50Israel80.8
51UK80.9
52Hungary81.0
53Brazil81.0
54Macedonia81.5
55Malta81.6
56Poland82.5
World Avg92.3
q=187.

The countries with the best overall approach to public health, in terms of both public policy and individual lifestyle choices, are Hong Kong, Singapore and The Maldives11. These countries are worth emulating. And, although often through no fault of the average citizen, the worst countries are S. Sudan, Nigeria and Equatorial Guinea11.

The data sets used to calculate points for each country are its average life expectancy, its alcohol consumption rate, its fertility rate, its smoking rate, its suicide rate, its food aid and health contributions and WHO compliance, the prevalence of overweight adults, its adolescent birth rate and its immunizations take-up. The regions with the best average results per country are Scandinavia, Asia and Europe11, whereas the worst are Africa, Micronesia and Polynesia11.

2. Health Data Sets

2.1. Life Expectancy

#demographics #health #hong_kong #immigration #japan #life_expectancy #longevity #population

Life Expectancy (2015)4
Pos.Higher is better
Years4
1Hong Kong84.16
2Japan83.68
3Italy83.34
...
24Ireland81.05
25Finland81.01
26Belgium80.98
27UK80.85
28Malta80.73
29Slovenia80.58
30Denmark80.41
31Cyprus80.33
World Avg71.27
q=190.

Global life expectancy has risen above the 70s, reaching 72, by 201613, as part of a global trend towards better health13,14, and due to huge portions of the world being gradually lifted out of poverty. It also reflects overall improvements to cultural health, including diet, health services systems, attitudes to exercise and well-being, and also family structure and caring. For decades, Japan was well-known for having the highest average life expectancy15, until the top spot was taken by Hong Kong. The regions with the best life expectancy are Europe (78.36), The Middle East (75.03) and North America (74.94)4 and the worst, by some way, is Africa (61.59)4.

One effect of rising longevity is the 'demographics crisis'; where an increasing portion of the population is old and retired, putting pressure on services and taxes16. The solution is for aging countries to import younger workers from elsewhere; over time, as birth rates stabilize, geriatric care improves the length of the working life, and population growth calms, this situation will stabilize.

2.2. Alcohol Consumption

#alcohol #health #sociology

Alcohol Consumption (2016)10
Pos.Lower is better
Per Capita10
1Bangladesh0.0
2Kuwait0.0
3Libya0.0
...
164Andorra11.3
165Equatorial Guinea11.3
166Hungary11.4
167UK11.5
168Gabon11.5
169Slovakia11.5
170Switzerland11.5
171Austria11.6
World Avg6.2
q=189.

There is nothing wrong with drinking modest and sensible amounts of alcohol but fitness, physical health, mental health and long-term health all suffer as a result of medium- or heavy- drinking17 and the health risks to the baby when pregnant mothers drink18 are well-known. Aside from the effects on the individual, alcohol misuse impacts on entire economies19 via increased health service costs, policing costs and lost days' work. Worldwide, alcohol misuse is "among the top five risk factors for disease, disability and death" and is a "cause of more than 200 disease and injury conditions in individuals, most notably alcohol dependence, liver cirrhosis, cancers and injuries"20. "In 2012... 5.9% of all global deaths, were attributable to alcohol consumption"21. Deaths from chronic alcohol misuse have been rising for decades, and so has violence, abuse, vandalism and crime all associated with alcohol over-use. The aggression and crime associated with alcohol in some Western countries infringes on the human rights of those who want nothing to do with such behaviour. Many of the social effects of alcohol are psychological and cultural; i.e., people don't have to behave criminally or destructively whilst drunk - it is a culturally learned behaviour. Experiments have shown that behaviour can be controlled: Those who do not wish to behave badly whilst drunk, will not do so.

The UK has seen a 50-year growth in alcohol consumption and it has become a public-health crisis22. In 2007-8 it directly cost the NHS £3 billion22, and overall the national cost is up to £55 billion a year22,23. Across 2007-8, the UK had up to 40,000 alcohol-related deaths, including 350 from acute alcohol poisoning and 8,000 from cirrhosis of the liver22. Consumption has doubled since the late 1950s, whilst in other developed countries such as France and Italy, it has more than halved24; liver disease rates are falling in the EU, but the UK's rises25. The price of alcohol is half what it was in the 1970s24. Between 1995 and 2001, binge drinking increased by 35% in the UK24 . The increase in drinking "is reflected in rising death rates from chronic liver disease, the primary cause of which is too much drink", and the UK has some of Europe's worst rates of childhood drunkenness and several thousands of babies are born each year with foetal alcohol syndrome22, which has lifelong effects.

2.3. Fertility Rate

#birth_control #demographics #health #overpopulation

Fertility Rate (2013)7
Pos.2.0 is best7
1N. Korea2.00
2Brunei1.99
3St Vincent & Grenadines2.01
...
17Denmark1.88
18Bahamas1.88
19Finland1.87
20UK1.87
21New Zealand2.15
22Azerbaijan2.16
23Chile1.84
24Bangladesh2.16
World Avg2.81
q=180.

The fertility rate is, in simple terms, the average amount of children that each woman has. The higher the figure, the quicker the population is growing, although, to calculate the rate you also need to take into account morbidity, i.e., the rate at which people die. If people live healthy and long lives and morbidity is low, then, 2.0 approximates to the replacement rate, which would keep the population stable. If all countries had such a fertility rate, population growth would end. The actual replacement rate in most developed countries is around 2.1.

2.4. Smoking Rates

#cancer #democracy #health #smoking

Smoking is the UK's biggest cause of preventable death and 100,000 people die from related diseases every year26. The health of the nation affects everyone in the long-run27 - although in 2016/17 tax on cigarettes earned the government £7.6 billion28, in 2010 statistics showed the total cost to the economy of smoking (including NHS costs) was £13.7 billion29. 474,000 hospital admissions every year in England are directly due to smoking28.

But things are moving in the right direction. Since the 1970s, the government has enacted a stream of laws to improve public health: strong restrictions on advertising cigarettes, enforced health warnings on packs, increased costs, banned sports sponsorships and banned smoking in public enclosed spaces.28,30,31. Each of those measures was fought through long legal and PR campaigns by the tobacco industry30,31. But it is working, and smoking rates in Great Britain have declined from 50% in 1974 to 16% in 2016, and the spectre of childhood smoking has declined to 3%.28,32

Smoking Rates (2014)9
Pos.Higher is worse9
182Montenegro4 125
181Belarus3 831
180Lebanon3 023
...
113Iran 869
112Laos 836
111Sweden 831
110UK 827
109Papua New Guinea 826
108Namibia 740
107UAE 715
106Qatar 698
World Avg 819
q=182.

Cigarettes are the most lethal consumer product on the planet and is the biggest preventable course of disease in the world30. The fight for public health means limiting and reducing the business of the tobacco industry and as the governments of most developed countries make headway, the tobacco industry has resisted with misinformation, public-relations campaigns and fake customer-concern lobby groups, trying to make the government think that the citizens do not support its actions. With £30 billion pounds (UKP) profit per year30, the industry runs such massive and influential lobbies that most governments find it difficult to make any progress in curbing rates of smoking.

If you smoke, you are more likely to drink. If you smoke or drink, you are also more likely to do drugs. Smoking is statistically intertwined deeply with trash culture. Only 15% of men in the highest professional classes smoke, but 42% of unskilled workers do33. Smoking is higher amongst those who are already in trouble: single mothers smoke at 55%, most homeless do and practically 100% of drug addicts do33. Smoking during late pregnancy reduces the IQ of babies by an average of 6.2 points34 and causes increased antisocial behaviour. Aside from the financial cost to taxpayers and the health costs to individuals, indirect negative economic effects result from increased rates of disease and sick days lost from work.

2.5. Suicide Rate

#belgium #finland #health #japan #mental_health #suicide #switzerland

Suicide Rate (2013)5
Pos.
Per 100k5
1Haiti0
2Grenada0
3Egypt0.1
...
36Italy12.8
37Macedonia13.5
38Mauritius13.7
39UK13.9
40Ecuador14.1
41Spain15.3
42Argentina15.6
43Thailand15.8
World Avg20.93
q=91.

Suicide as a human behaviour is recorded in the texts of the most ancient civilisations. But reliable statistics on it are hard to collect. The World Health Organisation publishes the statistics used by the United Nations, which is duplicated in the long table on the right.

Almost universally, successful male suicide rates are much higher than female rates. However, female suicide attempts are more frequent than male attempts.

Countries with high suicide rates are a mixture between those riddled with organized criminal gangs, under-developed countries, and, highly developed countries. There are cultural and situational effects at work that persist in the long-term: nothing seems to lower the high suicide rates in Japan, Belgium and Finland. And some of the countries with the lowest rates are not particularly well developed socially. It seems there is no correlation between suicide rates and things like development, prosperity and national engagement in human rights.

Switzerland comes in as the country with the 17th highest suicide rate despite its liberal stance, with 36.2 suicides per 100,000 people.

2.6. Food Aid, Health Contributions & WHO Compliance

Food Aid, Health Contributions & WHO Compliance (2017)3
Pos.Lower is better
Rank3
1Sweden1
2Ireland2
3Denmark3
4UK4
5Norway5
6Switzerland6
7Germany7
8Canada8
9Netherlands9
10USA10
11Luxembourg11
12Finland12
World Avg82.0
q=163.

2.7. Overweight Adults

#genetics #health #obesity #public_health #UK

Compared to Europe (2016)35
Pos.Lower is better
%35
1Moldova51.8
2Bosnia & Herzegovina53.3
3Azerbaijan53.6
4Georgia54.2
5Switzerland54.3
6Austria54.3
7Armenia54.4
8Denmark55.4
9Estonia55.8
10Slovenia56.1
11Slovakia56.2
12Sweden56.4
13Germany56.8
14Serbia57.1
15Portugal57.5
16Albania57.7
17Romania57.7
18Netherlands57.8
19Latvia57.8
20Finland57.9
21Macedonia58.1
22Poland58.3
23Norway58.3
24Ukraine58.4
25Italy58.5
26Luxembourg58.7
27Cyprus59.1
28Iceland59.1
29Montenegro59.4
30Belarus59.4
31France59.5
32Belgium59.5
33Croatia59.6
34Lithuania59.6
35Ireland60.6
36Spain61.6
37Hungary61.6
38Bulgaria61.7
39Greece62.3
40Czechia62.3
41UK63.7
42Andorra63.7
43Malta66.4
44Turkey66.8
Europe Avg58.5
World Avg49.0
q=44.

Over 2 in 3 adults in the UK are overweight37. It has widespread knock-on effects for the rest of the UK, resulting in lost-hours of work, developed disabilities and social care costs. A UK government Commons Health Select Committee report in late 2015 stated that obesity costs the UK economy £27 billion every year38 and the total costs to Britain were widely reported in 2014 to be £47 billion36,39 - more than war, violence and terrorism combined36,39. It costs the National Health Service £5.1 billion per year40. Childhood obesity presents the greatest long-term risk (and cost) and parents must do more to instigate sensible eating practices41. In early 2016, the Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said that UK rates of childhood obesity constituted a national emergency42.

Source: BBC (2007)43

The issue has been a long-term development; the chart shows rates rising between 1996-2005 in England.

The UK compares poorly to Europe, how about to the rest of the world?

Overweight Adults (2016)35
Pos.Lower is better
%35
1Vietnam18.3
2India19.7
3Bangladesh20.0
...
159Venezuela63.4
160Egypt63.5
161Andorra63.7
162UK63.7
163Fiji63.8
164Canada64.1
165Israel64.3
166Bahamas64.4
World Avg49.0
q=191.

About one third of the global population is overweight or obese36. Most Western countries are facing an obesity epidemic. Our cultures are having to change to compensate for widespread ill-health. It is costing our health systems a massive amount of money, and is having negative effects on national economies. The situation has persisted for a suitable length of time for our very perceptions to change; opinions on "normal weights" for people and "average sizes" for clothes has shot up37. Over 2 in 3 adults in the UK are overweight37 and this costs the NHS £5.1 billion per year40 and "costs Britain's economy £47bn a year; more than war, terrorism or armed violence"44. We are forgetting how to be healthy.

The causes are not genetic. Most people who say obesity "runs in their family" are wrong. The rate of increase in obesity is many, many times too fast to be accounted for by a change in inherited genes45. Our culture and lifestyle choices are to blame. The causes of the modern obesity epidemic are processed foods, low levels of physical exercise, over-indulgence, poor choices in food products, poor knowledge of nutrition. Most of this is made much worse by well-funded advertising campaigns by food manufacturers selling cheaper mass-produced food. Even some so-called "health foods" contain well over recommended limits of fat, salt and sugar46.

3. Children's Health Data Sets

3.1. Adolescent Birth Rate

#health #parenting #population

Adolescent Birth Rate (2015)6
Pos.Lower is better
Per 10006
1N. Korea0.5
2S. Korea1.6
3Switzerland2.9
...
45Malaysia13.6
46Latvia13.6
47Australia14.1
48UK14.6
49Sri Lanka14.8
50Micronesia15.0
51Tonga15.2
52Mongolia15.7
World Avg47.9
q=185.

3.2. Infant Immunizations 2011-2015

#health #vaccines

Infant Immunizations 2011-2015 (2015)8
Pos.Higher is better
Avg %8
1Hungary99.0
2China99.0
3Uzbekistan98.9
...
72Tuvalu94.9
73Eritrea94.7
74Singapore94.6
75UK94.6
76Solomon Islands94.5
77Norway94.3
78Bolivia94.2
79UAE94.0
World Avg88.3
q=194.