Public health advice is for our own good

Human beings are psychologically hard wired to fear two things above all else – falling and the dark. But as time has gone on we have rightly become more attuned to other dangers.

Every day someone discovers that their life will end sooner than they hoped thanks to some disease. This is usually cancer, but thankfully some of them have very high survival rates if they are detected in time.

MPs regularly receive briefings from organisations that promote healthier living to prevent disease and increase resources to diagnose and treat conditions. Raising public awareness of dangers that shorten our lives often attracts accusations of ‘nanny state politics’.

I know that many people are bemused by the recent advice on drinking and the reduction in what is now considered safe. But few people now complain that the link between smoking and cancer was proven. And most of us automatically put on our seat belts, with massive reductions in car deaths.

We all have the right to decide how we live our lives and what balance of risk and pleasure we take, as long as we don’t harm anyone else. But it is best we make informed choices about our health and lifestyle.

As well as looking out for any dark holes we could fall into, we should all keep a weather eye on public health advice for our own good and that of our family and friends. It might save your life.