THE Examiner today starts a major new campaign – and it’s aim is simple.
We want our kids to lead healthier lives and, ultimately, live longer.
We have linked in with the Government’s Change4Life scheme to make that happen.
It’s not rocket science.
In short, it involves eating more healthy food and doing some exercise.
That’s not to mean you have to go off and join a gym – just going for a walk or playing in the garden is a great start.
The statistics around obesity are frightening – it already causes 9,000 premature deaths in England alone each year and costs the NHS £4.2m annually.
Experts say that without intervention now, by 2050 90% of today’s children will be overweight or obese, costing the nation £50bn – half the entire NHS annual budget – and at risk from serious life-limiting diseases.
It’s happening now.
The number of people diagnosed with diabetes has jumped 63% over the last 10 years alone. Type 2 diabetes is linked to obesity.
Now, the rate of diabetes is rising faster in the UK than in the USA.
This campaign will help families to understand the harm that fat can cause to their children’s health.
You don’t have to look obese – or even overweight – as a child to be storing up big health problems for the future by eating the wrong things and building fat up in the body.
A bad diet and inactive lifestyle can lead to cancer, heart disease and diabetes.
Modern life makes it much harder than it used to be to maintain a healthy weight.
When life was more simple in the past, food was harder to obtain and people were more physically active. Now people are often eating too much of the wrong things and moving too little.
The extent of the nation’s obesity problem demands an ambitious approach to bring about a lifestyle revolution – something no other Government has attempted before.
The Change4Life movement is also launching ‘8 behaviour changes’, aimed at encouraging small, manageable steps to help families eat well, move more and live longer. The changes are:
1. Sugar Swaps: Tips on swapping sugary snacks and drinks for ones lower in sugar.
2. Meal times: The importance for kids having regular, proper meals as part of a routine
3. Me-Sized Meals: Ensuring kids get just the right amount for their age – not too little and not too much.
4. Snack Check: Keeping a careful eye on how many snacks the kids are having.
5. Five a Day: Tips on giving your kids five portions of fruit and vegetables a day – for kids, one portion is roughly a handful.
6. Cut Back Fat: Fat-busting tips on how to tell where fat is lurking.
7. 60 Active Minutes: Tips for giving kids at least 60 minutes of activity a day – but it doesn’t have to be sport.
8. Up and About: Tips to get kids spending less time sitting down doing nothing and up and about being active so their bodies burn off enough fat.
These tips – together with lots more useful information – are on the new Change4Life website www.nhs.uk/change4life.
Secretary of State for Health Alan Johnson said: “Poor diet and inactive lifestyles are threatening the health and happiness of our children and young people.
“The link between being significantly overweight and preventable illnesses such as diabetes, coronary heart disease, cancer and mental illness is undeniable.
“Yet many parents are unaware that their children are at risk.
“Without concerted action now, children will become increasingly vulnerable to all these health conditions – and reduce their life expectancy at the same time.
“However, people in local communities, local healthcare workers, teachers, charities, Government agencies, the media and industry are now coming together in an initiative to help our children achieve a healthier future, both here and throughout England.”
People can contact Change4Life direct to get tailor-made advice to suit their own family’s needs.
The phone number is 0300 1234567. Once a person has called or registered for advice, they will be able to have a discussion with an adviser.
They will then receive an information pack to help make changes to the way they live.
The Examiner also wants to hear from families who are embracing this – or have already changed their lifestyles to more healthy ones.
We want to hear your stories – what you eat, the kind of inexpensive exercise you do and how you have time to fit it all into the hectic pace of daily modern life.
Phone features on 01484 437761 or email email@example.com
Watch out for Change4Life in the Examiner over the next month.