“Its time to make fizzy drinks really expensive”

That was just one of the solutions suggested to the obesity epidemic at Natural & Organic Products Europe’s lively Health of a Nation session held last Sunday (7 April).

The seminar, which took place as part of the Natural Products Live programme, featured a panel of experts giving their take on how the UK is faring in the health stakes.

Medical Herbalist Dr Chris Etheridge kicked off the debate by sharing some of the findings of a study specially commissioned by Potter’s Herbs.

“More than half of the people in the study said they prefer herbal medicines over conventional,” he explained.

“Forty-seven per cent said that they feared side-effects ranging from headaches to addiction.”

Brand owner and health expert Lisa Gawthorne pitched in with the importance of exercise to the health of the nation by sharing some of the information from her fitness guide Gone in 60 Minutes.

She explained that her philosophy centred around three pillars of health – interval training, sleep and working with weights.

“Ditch the cardiovascular sessions and make the majority of your exercise sessions interval-based,” she said.

“Then when you leave the gym you’ll be burning fat throughout the day.”

Nutritionist Yvonne Bishop-Weston went on to explain how children are in danger from a climate in which poor quality food proliferates in the supermarkets.

“More than a quarter of UK children are overweight, and a fifth are overweight by the time they leave school,” she said.

“This generation may be the first that fails to outlive their parents.”

Bishop-Weston also noted that there was plenty on the policy level that governments could do to help people find back.

“We need to subsidise fruits and vegetables and need to start making fizzy drinks really expensive. It’s also important not to let fizzy drinks sponsor big sports events like the Olympics,” she said.