Case study: Lifestyle diseases

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Some argue that people with so-called ‘lifestyle’ diseases, such as obesity, type II diabetes and some types of cancer, have inflicted these on themselves and therefore should not have the same access to publicly-funded healthcare services as people leading ‘healthy lives’. This argument assumes that people suffering from these conditions or diseases have not shown solidarity with people who do take care to live a healthy life.

Professor Prainsack, one of the two authors of the report, said: “It is very difficult to determine a causal link between behaviour and illness on an individual level, as most lifestyle-related diseases are caused by multiple factors, including social and environmental ones. A solidarity-based approach would instead support access to healthcare granted on the basis of need, as is currently the case in the UK’s NHS.”

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