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Hello healthy living, goodbye personal injury compensation claims

First of all, fast-food and other processed junk became popular, weight problems in the UK and the US sky-rocketed and health concerns became prolific throughout the western world.

Then, some intriguing personal injury compensation claims came about, such as the boy that pursued a compensation claim against a renowned fast-food chain in the US as he thought them responsible for his extensive weight gain.

Now, healthy eating is very much the in-thing. We are bombarded with super foods and GI indexes courtesy of eat-well TV programmes such as You Are What You Eat. With the help of Jamie Oliver there is even hope for our kids to gain healthier options in the school canteen. But is this just another phase or will it actually improve people's lifestyles and reduce the amount of personal injury claims made for weight related illnesses?

Modern day health risks
You are considered to be overweight if you weigh at least 10% more than your ideal bodyweight and you are considered obese if you are 30 pounds or more over your ideal bodyweight. You can calculate your body mass index (BMI) by squaring your height (in metres) then dividing your weight (in kg) by this figure:

BMI 20-25 = healthy weight
BMI 25-30 = overweight
BMI 30+ = obese

For many, the modern diet which still consists of processed ready meals containing large quantities of saturated fats is the root of the problem. Extensive amounts of fat can clog the arteries, leading to heart attacks as a result of hypertension (high blood pressure) and high cholesterol. Also, the average body has difficulties digesting over-processed foods, leading to an increase in Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) as well as intolerances to gluten, dairy and yeast products among UK residents.

Children are at particular risk of suffering serious illness and personal injury caused by excess weight, such as kidney failure, blindness, amputations and asthma. Reports show that new cases of asthma are 1 to 2 times as likely among children that are overweight.

In the US 15% of all children are overweight and suffer the consequences. This number is increasing at such a rate that it will soon account for one third of all children and if these overweight children go on to become overweight adults it is estimated that almost 50 million Americans could have diabetes by 2050.

UK figures show that from 1996 to 2006, obesity has doubled among six-year-olds and trebled among 15-year-olds and type two diabetes is being seen for the first time among children.

According to the British Heart Foundation, almost half of Britain's 117,000 annual deaths from coronary heart disease are related to high cholesterol.

Evo Diet
Nutritionists have convinced the government that five-a-day (portions of fruit and veg that is) is the way to go for a while now. Lynne Garton and King's College Hospital have devised a hunter-gatherer style menu that they believe could drastically decrease cholesterol levels and blood pressure.

The latest thinking has been to turn the clock back and start eating like our distant ancestors. No, we are not going to start tucking into seagulls like King Henry VIII and his Tudor counterparts, health experts are suggesting that we start looking pre-evolution and begin to eat like apes.

Nine volunteers, aged 36 to 49, were enlisted to take part in the new diet for a total of 12 days while living in a tented enclosure next to the ape house at Paignton Zoo, Devon. The Evo Diet consisted of a three day rotating menu including:

5kgs or 2,300 calories of fruit, vegetables, nuts and honey
On a three day rota:
Broccoli, carrots, radishes
Cabbage, tomatoes, watercress
Strawberries, apricots, bananas, mangoes, melons, figs, plums
Satsumas, hazelnuts

This menu was not only guaranteed safe to eat raw but also as meeting adult daily nutritional requirements and as providing halfway between the recommended calorie amount for women and men.

Will Evo solve the problem?
Reports from April 2006 show that sales of unhealthy foods, particularly ready meals, fell by up to 40% since supermarkets started revealing fat, salt and sugar content on their labels. Although, as a nation, we are making an effort to become more health conscious, healthy eating is still out of the question for some.

Many feel that they do not have time to bother with home-cooked food and instead opt for convenience meals that can be plucked straight from the freezer and popped into the microwave. In reality, it would take less time and be far more beneficial to whip up a quick stir fry.

Others simply cannot afford organic produce and things that are deemed especially good for us, such as raw nuts, blueberries and oily fish like salmon.

It was not stated how much the Evo healthy-eating regime would cost on a long-term basis. There was also no indication as to how people under the stress and strain of everyday life would respond to the diet.

What about personal injury compensation claims?
Some say that we are living in a compensation claim culture but the fact is that when it comes to healthy living everyone is responsible for themselves. You can claim that you were tempted to eat crisps and chocolate by alluring TV ads but it could be argued that you would have been far better off getting some exercise in the fresh air rather than watching TV in the first place.

Essentially, if you gain weight or sustain illness as a result of eating unhealthily then, as you made the choice to eat it in the first place, you can't really point the finger and it is highly unlikely that you will be able to enlist the help of a personal injury solicitor in order to make a personal injury compensation claim.

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