Hot on the heels of the shocking rickets news from Southampton, the Lancet medical journal published a report showing that London is now Europe’s TB capital! The report paints a sad and rather scary message regarding the incidence of TB in our capital city but while the issue lies mainly with the homeless population there are heath lessons we can all learn from this sad reality.
The report states that 2009 saw 9040 cases of tuberculosis in the UK: 15 cases per 100000 individuals. But the disease is concentrated in certain demographics within certain areas. London has a rate of 44 cases per 100000. In the UK’s homeless population, the rate is 300 cases per 100000, an inequality that bears out WHO’s assertion that “in many industrialised countries, tuberculosis rates among the homeless can be up to twenty times higher than the general population”.
Poor nutrition is one reason for this. A study by UK charity Homeless Link found that almost a third of rough sleepers regularly eat less than two meals a day.
While this story focuses on the homeless problem it does drive home the importance of good nutrition in maintaining a healthy immune response. While the serious issue of TB in this population has many other factors to take into accound (such as smoking, durg abuse and alcoloh intake) on a less serious note many of us can boost our immunity by eating well, maintain a healthy gut flora and avoiding passive smoke.
To complement a healthy diet and lifestyle over the cold winter months consider a daily miltivitamin such as Health Insurance Plus from Lamberts Healthcare and the gut friendly probiotic Acidophilus Pearl Winter blend.