Health: Scots urged to switch lifestyle

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The Independent Online
Scots need to improve their diet, cut out cigarette smoking and take more exercise if the nation is to ditch its reputation - crudely caricatured by the television character Rab C Nesbitt (right) - as one of the unhealthiest in Europe, a report said yesterday.

Heart disease and cancer remain the country's major killers, each accounting for a quarter of all deaths, according to the annual report of chief medical officer for Scotland Sir David Carter. At a press conference in Edinburgh, Sir David hinted strongly that the Government has resolved to tackle head- on the deprivation which results in the less affluent bearing a greater burden of physical and mental disease.

A Green Paper on public health is to be published later this year, and Sir David said one of the options being considered by Scottish Office civil servants was for it to concentrate on heart disease and cancer and how all public authorities could work together to alleviate the problem.

Sir David said: "The main message I have is - yes, some grounds for encouragement but no cause for complacency. It's difficult and unrealistic to see health in isolation. It has to be seen in the context of the life of the Scottish people and the environment in which they live. I do think I see major opportunities for the public to improve their own situation."