§ Mr. Shersby
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what action he is taking to make the public aware of the recommendations contained in the report of the Joint Working Party of the Royal College of Physicians and the British 430W Cardiac Society in relation to the consumption of animal fats and coronary heart disease.
§ Dr. Owen
The Chief Medical Officer, on the advice of the Standing Medical Advisory Committee, is sending a copy of the report to all doctors. The report, which has already received wide publicity, notes that the major impact of preventive measures in coronary heart disease should come through the contact between patient and general practitioner supported by a general health education policy which involves hospital and community physicians and their supporting staff. The working party tried to produce the best possible advice which could at present be given to medical practitioners for the prevention of coronary heart disease.
Coronary heart disease is a major cause of death and disability in men and women in the United Kingdom, and there is some evidence that the problem is increasing, particularly in the younger age groups. The causes of coronary heart disease are often behavioural and may relate in particular to dietary factors, cigarette smoking, obesity and phyical inactivity. Because so many of the risk factors for this disease are closely associated with patterns of social behaviour, to some degree the health of the community lies in its own hands. Recommendations are, therefore, made which apply to the whole community in terms of diet, cigarette smoking, weight control and physical activity. But the general practitioner has a key rôle to play in recognising and giving advice to those persons considered to be at particular high risk. The report defines these "high risk" groups and makes specific recommendations for the management of the individual risk factors.
§ Mr. Shersby
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will now consult the Independent Broadcasting Authority with a view to permitting the advertising on television of polyunsaturated fats as a means of reducing the incidence of coronary heart disease following the recent report of the Joint Working Party of the Royal College of Physicians and the British Cardiac Society; and if he will make a statement.
§ Dr. Owen
The Chief Medical Officer's Committee on Medical Aspects of Food Policy has discussed the recommendations made by the Working Party of the Royal 431W College of Physicians and the British Cardiac Society in the light of the Report of its Advisory Panel on "Diet in relation to Cardiovascular and Cerebrovascular Disease", published in 1974. The Advisory Panel Report stated:The Panel are unanimous in remaining unconvinced by the available evidence that the incidence of ischaemic heart disease in the United Kingdom, or the death rate from it, would be reduced in consequence of a rise in the ratio of polyunsaturated and saturated fatty acids in the national diet. In the present state of knowledge any suggestion or claim to that effect, with respect to the nation or to an individual, would be unjustified.
The Committee on Medical Aspects of Food Policy decided after careful consideration of Joint Working Party's report that no new evidence had come to light and has accordingly re-endorsed the advice published in 1974. A conflict of medical advice in this and other areas is not unusual.
The Chief Medical Officer will draw attention to the differences between the two reports and the committee's decision in a covering letter when sending a copy of the Joint Working Party's report to all doctors. It will be for individual doctors to form their own clinical judgment and
Thousands November 1975 1976–77* 1977–78* 1978–79* 1979–80* Retirement pensions in paymet 8,149 8,230 8,280 8,320 8,390 Old persons' pensions in payment 94 75 65 60 50 *Estimates.