GP prescribes healthy living

A GP is to highlight the benefits of a healthy diet after linking up with his local butcher to hand out “prescriptions” for beef, pork and lamb.It is hoped the initiative, spearheaded by Dr John Cannon, who operates from a surgery in Ixworth, near Bury St Edmunds, will direct patients towards a more balanced lifestyle while helping cut the cost of dispensing drugs.

A GP is to highlight the benefits of a healthy diet after linking up with his local butcher to hand out “prescriptions” for beef, pork and lamb.

It is hoped the initiative, spearheaded by Dr John Cannon, who operates from a surgery in Ixworth, near Bury St Edmunds, will direct patients towards a more balanced lifestyle while helping cut the cost of dispensing drugs.

The first 50 people handed the unusual prescription will be entitled to a 10% discount at the nearby butchers - and should make the most of the offer, said Dr Cannon, whilst also enjoying fruit, vegetables and oily fish.

“This campaign is a great way of encouraging people to recognise that a good diet is made up of a balance of nutrients from each of the food groups - including things like lean red meat, which is a fantastic source of iron, protein and vitamins,” said Dr Cannon.


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“Doctors and other healthcare professionals play an important role in giving patients advice on what constitutes a healthy lifestyle and helping them make positive and long term lifestyle changes.”

It is hoped the prescriptions will help raise awareness of a rise in obesity and heart disease which is currently threatening the nation's health.

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“It is the biggest killer in the UK and it is preventable through a good lifestyle,” said Dr Cannon.

“If you lose five kilos of weight there is a 40% reduction in your chances of having a stroke and an 18-20% reduction of having a heart attack.

“I approve of a vegetarian diet but most of my patients are carnivores and I would recommend to them to eat lean red meat as part of a healthy diet.”

Dr Cannon, who is the Suffolk West Primary Care Trust coronary heart disease lead, added: “The one thing I would avoid is processed food, because it contains high levels of salt and fat, which are major causes of obesity and heart disease.”

Butcher David Sim, who will hand the discount to the first 50 patients producing the “prescriptions” at his Ixworth shop, Meat At The Village Stores , said the project should help people think more carefully about their diets.

“Red meat is such a versatile and nutritious ingredient,” he said. “Some people think it is high in fat but a lean cut can be very low in fat - as little as 4% in lean pork, for example.

“This means that lean red meat can be a healthy option for everyone, including those trying to lose weight.”

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