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European Union urged to take action on diabetes and other chronic conditions

A coalition of organisations representing people with chronic conditions is campaigning for the introduction of measures to address poor diet, lack of exercise, excessive use of alcohol and smoking in a bid to improve the health of people across Europe.

The International Diabetes Federation (Europe) – of which Diabetes UK is a member – is one of the ten organisations in the Chronic Disease Alliance, which represents healthcare professionals and people with conditions including diabetes, respiratory disease, liver disease, cancer, heart disease and kidney disease. These diseases account for 86 per cent of deaths in Europe, according to the World Health Organisation.

Within the European Union there are more than 30 million people with diabetes.

Recommendations for improving health

Recommendations in the campaign document called 'A Unified Prevention Approach' include:

Make efforts to reduce fat, sugar and salt content in food, increase supply and access to affordable fresh fruit and vegetables, ban the marketing of unhealthy food to children.

Ensure children have access to physical education every day at school and improve P.E. facilities, set urban planning priorities for non-motorised transport and parks.

Harmonise tobacco taxation across Europe, devote 80 per cent of cigarette packaging to visual health warnings, ban internet sales of tobacco and cigarette vending machines.

Ban alcohol advertising on television and radio, introduce uniform minimum EU taxes on alcohol and create educational programmes to raise awareness of excessive alcohol consumption.

Human and financial costs

The report also stresses that chronic diseases place an unsustainable financial burden on health care budgets, as well as having individual human costs which cannot be overstated.

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