(photo credit: INGIMAGE)
Poor nutrition and the ongoing consumption of junk food by the population costs the government NIS 6 billion a year, according to Prof. Itamar Grotto, the Health Ministry’s associate director-general who is in charge of public health services.
Speaking on Tuesday at the Sderot Conference at the Sapir Academic College, Grotto said the NIS 6b. figure is comprised of NIS 2b. for medical care and NIS 4b. in indirect costs such as loss of ability to work due to chronic disease and disability.
According to Grotto, the ministry aims at getting industry to change its products so they have less fat, sugar and salt. “We are even considering taxes on damaging food and putting healthy foods under price controls [so they become cheaper].”
Grotto said that health promotion crosses all sectors an offers a chance for reducing social gaps, as the healthier people are, the more they can do and earn. Child obesity is growing, he added. It is not just looks that are important but mostly the risk of developing chronic diseases.