Change4Life aims to get the nation happier and healthier!

Change4LifeObesity in the UK is a major growing health concern and is consistently found to be one of the leading causes of preventable death in Britain. In 2007 Forbes listed the UK as number 28 in the fattest countries in the world and other estimates predict that half the population could be obese by the year 2050.

Earlier this year, statistics were released that show the total proportion of people in areas across England are either overweight or obese, and it is an alarming similar trend around the country:

By region

1. North-east (68%)

2. North-west (66%)

3. West Midlands (65.7%)

4. East Midlands (65.6%)

5. Yorkshire and the Humber (65.4%)

6. East of England (65.1%)

7. South-east (63.1%)

8. South-west (62.7%)

9. London (57.3%)

Clearly the problem of managing the nation’s weight is something that needs to be tackled in the current day and not only taken seriously 36 years into the future.

Fortunately the government and the NHS are at the forefront of such measures and there are a number of initiatives that aim to promote healthy lifestyle changes to be sustained in the long-term for you and your children. One of these is Change4Life , an England and Wales public health programme ran by the Department of Health that encourages people to adhere to six healthy lifestyle changes:

  • 5 A Day – Advice on how to achieve the recommended 5 daily portions of fruit and vegetables.
  • Watch the salt– How to cut down on salt intake and keep it under 6g per day for adults.
  • Cut back fat – Information about primarily the saturated fat in foods and how to cut down. It is worth remembering the average male should not consume over 30g of saturated fat per day, whilst it is just 20g of saturated fat per day for women.
  • Sugar swaps– Information about sugar in foods and healthier alternatives.
  • Choose less booze – Advice on how adults can meet the government lower-risk guidelines, with a free downloadable app to track your drinking.
  • Get going every day – The importance of an active lifestyle and how both children and adults can keep active easily and inexpensively.

Those wanting to get involved with Change4Life will receive plenty of useful information, recipes, tools, tips, and games for the kids. After you have registered you will also get a free welcome pack – one for the whole family, or one just for you.

For those unsure where their local groups or clubs are for fun activities that will keep you fit and healthy, there is an excellent facility for finding such activities on the Change4Life website. Here you can tick what specific interests you want to get involved in, such as Adventure/Outdoor (e.g. Archery, Cycling & more) or Watersports (e.g. Canoeing, Diving & more) within a specified distance and the search results will provide an A-Z list of nearby venues to get active.

The NHS Choices website also offer a fantastic comprehensive A-Z guide to common health topics, such as weight loss, within the Live Well area of the website.

In the weight loss area of the NHS Live Well website, you can find information about the many different diet plans out there, such as the 5:2 diet and the Paleo diet, there are tips on how to understand food labels in order to make healthier choices when shopping, a list of the worst culprits for added sugar in our diet and there is also an interactive body mass index (BMI) tool to see if you are a health weight for your height. Those wanting to lose weight can also sign up for free email support and help stay motivated in their goals.

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