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Muslims Communities urged to Choose Health

The Muslim Health Network (MHN) welcomes the Secretary of State for Health’s new public health initiative "Choosing Health ?" launched today it will consultant with the British society on a White Paper on obesity, smoking and sexually transmitted infection.

The prevalence of the 3 big killers heart disease, diabetes and cancer is high in the Muslim communities as nearly half the male population in some groups smoke and certain communities are nearly 2 to 3 times more physically inactive and obese than the national average. In some groups only 17% of the individuals eat a balanced healthy diet of low fat and high vegetable and fruit content.

Naeem Darr, Chairman of MHN said, " Obesity and smoking are the causes of a lot of ill health in the Muslim communities. We have higher GP consultations, higher medication use and higher stress and mental health problems. Health inequalities are apparent for all to see because we do not promote healthy living nor have access to smoking cessation, weight reduction and management, healthy eating, keep-fit and recreational facilities".

" The Muslim Health Network is urging all Muslim health professionals, community leaders and patient forums to come forward and work on this consultation to get it right first time. This is the right time to forward our thoughts and ideas into public health strategy development and not when the White paper has set policy and things begin to be implemented. Make available your research studies, reports and recommendations and let us re-visit this issue once again and get things implemented. We are tired of recommendations that go nowhere."

Futhermore the issue of health of manual workers regarding second-hand smoking makes Muslim owned restaurants the frontline of this debate. Bangladeshi and Pakistani Muslims now own over 8,000 restaurants and have over 70,000 people employed in a £2 billion a year industry. The Muslim Health Network urges the various restaurant owner’s federations and consortiums to join in the debate.



1. Health Survey of England: Black and Minority Ethnic Groups Department of Health 1999

2. "Curry Culture: The British Love Affair With Indian Food" Peter & Colleen Grove 2003Mf page 1 of 2

Notes to Editors

Details of the Choosing Health consultation can be found at: www.dh.gov.uk



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