Campaign targets saturated fat

NHS WEST Essex is encouraging people to get involved with the Food Standard Agency s Saturated Fat Campaign which aims to raise awareness of the health risks of eating too much saturated fat. People in the UK eat on average 20 per cent more saturated fat

NHS WEST Essex is encouraging people to get involved with the Food Standard Agency's Saturated Fat Campaign which aims to raise awareness of the health risks of eating too much saturated fat.

People in the UK eat on average 20 per cent more saturated fat than the recommended maximum. The campaign is promoting a range of simple, positive and practical steps that people can take to help improve their health and reduce their risk of developing heart disease.

Over time, a diet high in saturated fat can raise cholesterol levels in the blood, which is a risk factor for heart and circulatory diseases such as coronary heart disease, heart attacks, angina and stroke, and cardiovascular disease (CVD). CVD is the most common cause of death in the UK and in 2006 was responsible for about one in three premature deaths.

The Food Standard Agency's campaign activity includes a graphic 40-second television advert that shows saturated fat can come from a variety of everyday foods and illustrates why too much saturated fat could be bad for your heart.


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The advert opens with someone reaching into a fridge. A jug of saturated fat is poured down the sink, blocking a kitchen pipe to vividly bring to life the message that too much saturated fat could lead to a build-up of fatty deposits in your arteries.

Director of Public Health with NHS West Essex, Alison Cowie, said: "People say they know that saturated fat is bad for them but they don't necessarily link it to heart disease and what they are eating. It's important they make that connection."

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The case for the campaign is highlighted by UK-wide FSA research which found that nearly half of respondents (48 per cent) thought there was no need to worry about how much saturated fat they ate if, for example, they took regular exercise, were not overweight or ate lots of fruit and vegetables.

Food Standards Agency chief executive, Tim Smith, said: "People say they do know that saturated fat is bad for them but they don't necessarily link it to heart disease and what they are eating. It's important they make that connection, because heart disease is the UK's number one killer one in three of us will die as a result."

Alison Cowie added: "There are simple ways we can cut down the amount of saturated fat we all eat and protect our health.

"We need to eat leaner meat and a bit less cheese, switch to lower-fat milks and eat healthier snacks, cutting down on cakes and biscuits.

"Supermarkets and manufacturers have done some good work, so that now when we're shopping there is an increasing range of lower-saturated-fat foods available and better labelling.

"It is important we work together to increase the variety of healthier foods available and continue to address this important public health issue together."

In addition to having the support of major supermarkets, manufacturers and some caterers, the FSA is being backed in the campaign by the British Heart Foundation, Diabetes UK, Heart UK, National Federation of Women's Institutes and NetMums.

For more information visit www.food.gov.uk

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