Converting Britons to a Mediterranean diet should be placed at the centre of the Government’s fight against dementia, leading clinicians have said in a letter to David Cameron.
Eleven senior doctors, including Claire Gerada, former chairman of the Royal College of General Practitioners, called for a diet rich in vegetables and low in meat to be placed at the heart of health policy.
In a letter to Mr Cameron and Jeremy Hunt, the Health Secretary, they said that improving public health would be a stronger weapon in the fight against dementia than any drug treatment. Their comments came ahead of a crucial summit in London on Wednesday, at which the G8 group of nations will meet to plan a new approach to research and treatment of the disease.The letter, signed by experts from Britain, France, the United States, Italy and Greece, calls for governments to invest more in teaching the public, including children, about the benefits of a healthy diet and lifestyle. There is currently no effective treatment for dementia, but the protective effect of a healthy diet is being “largely ignored”, they said.
Dr Aseem Malhotra, a cardiology registrar at Croydon University Hospital and one of the letter’s signatories, said: “We are not going to overcome the increasing burden of chronic diseases by prescribing more pills. The medical profession has itself been guilty of placing too much emphasis on drugs, the benefits of which are often grossly exaggerated and fuelled by a powerful pharmaceutical industry, who naturally wish to expand the use of their drugs for financial gain."