18 March 2009

Health of the nation: Mission impossible

Ilya Dashkovsky, AgroNews.ru

More and more Russians are saving on food and the notorious crisis is to blame for that. In 2008, products have risen in price by 17.7%, and this year the price increase may reach 20%. At the same time, we began to earn less by about 13%.

How much such a statistical fork will affect food preferences can be assumed by comparing the shares of food costs in the United States and in Russia.

In the average American family, 10-20% of income goes to food, while we have almost 43%. If we consider that we are used to saving, first of all, on quality, then it's time to take care of the health of fellow citizens, which directly depends on nutrition.

The consequence of inflation and wage cuts has become the health of Russians, which can be forgotten about improving in the near future. Leonid Roshal, Director of the Research Institute of Emergency Pediatric Surgery and Traumatology, believes that given the recent changes in the economy, "there can be no improvement in the health of the nation in principle. We need to try to maintain the state that we have at the moment."

Speaking about the health of the nation, we must not forget about such an important indicator for the country as the birth rate, which is constantly falling, including due to the relocation of young families from villages to cities "for work". The crisis and inflation can also hurt here.

According to the deputy of the State Duma of the Russian Federation Ayrat Khairullin, a rural family on average has three children, and in the city – only one. That is why it is necessary to keep the villagers in their native places, because the environment affects the way of life.

Only good infrastructure and salaries can convince young families to stay. According to the deputy, now there is an opportunity to increase the average salary in rural areas to 8-9 thousand rubles. However, this is still not enough. Considering that the average salary in Russia in January of this year was 15.2 thousand rubles, it will not be possible to attract such an "increased" salary in agriculture.

In part, low incomes in the villages are to blame for huge unemployment, reaching up to 50%, because it is sometimes more profitable for people to sit on the dole than to earn pennies for a living on hard work.

It was poor living conditions and lack of employment that caused widespread drunkenness in rural areas. Alcoholism, in turn, dramatically reduces the life expectancy of villagers, especially men.

This problem is well known to Finns, who not so long ago had a similar problem, but were able to successfully solve it. Mika Koskinen, CEO of a well-known company, gave an example of a Finnish province where, thanks to a decrease in unemployment in rural areas, life expectancy increased by 20 years. In addition to the material part, the Finnish government also dealt with the spiritual part. Citizens were urged to lead a healthy lifestyle and monitor their nutrition. Perhaps the experience of the neighbors could help the Russian province.

So far, of all possible programs to improve the health of the nation, we have only one – to popularize milk. At the same time, there are debates in society about the benefits of milk coming on sale. They were especially aggravated with the discussion of the new technical regulations that divided milk into "real" and "dairy product". As a result, many people stopped trusting this product at all, and manufacturers began to complain about a reduction in demand.

However, from the point of view of chemical composition and taste, a dairy product made from powdered milk and milk itself are no different. The difference can be felt only between fresh milk and store-bought milk, in which the price of the original product for which it is named is not so great: "Even the most expensive milk of real milk contains a maximum of 12 rubles. The cost of milk from a good farm is 16 rubles, and the producer is forced to sell it for 13 rubles. At the same time, processors can make 1.6 liters from 1 liter of milk from the farm," warns Airat Khairullin.

Such manipulations in the producer-consumer chain allow retail chains to sell at a lower price. But the decrease in prices from the manufacturer, which occurs quite regularly, does not always lead to a decrease in prices in stores.

Some see a way out of this situation in the state regulation of prices. But this measure is categorically rejected by the Ministry of Agriculture, believing that any government intervention in pricing will lead to a deficit.

Portal "Eternal youth" www.vechnayamolodost.ru18.03.2009

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