THREE Huddersfield people have the chance to star on TV – and get fitter at the same time.

Researchers from the ITV programme Tonight with Trevor McDonald will be in Huddersfield town centre looking for the volunteers this weekend.

The aim of the programme is to find out if a better diet and more exercise is as effective and better at lowering cholesterol than controversial drugs called statins.

The TV researchers will be on the Piazza between 9am and 12.30pm on Saturday using a simple test to measure people’s cholesterol.

The programme follows the finding by charity Heart UK that people in Huddersfield have some of the highest cholesterol levels in Britain with almost 65% of adults here being above the recommended level.

The three with high cholesterol chosen by the researchers will spend a month on a diet low in saturated fat. They will be given healthy eating and exercise tips by television GP Dr Sarah Jarvis and nutritionist Amanda Ursell.

Amanda said: “A few years ago, I discovered my cholesterol levels were slightly higher than they should be. I think I had been eating more cheese than I realised, but I managed to get them down to normal through a really healthy diet and plenty of walking.”

The Tonight programme comes in the wake of plans by the National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE) to recommend that family doctors offer cholesterol-lowering drugs called statins to patients with a 20% risk of developing cardiovascular disease in the next 10 years.

These drugs have been controversial with some users reporting side effects such as muscle aches and pains, depression and exhaustion.

One former statin user, Di Garstang from Altrincham near Manchester, suffered pain in her back and legs and ended up having to crawl up stairs while on statins.

She said: “My life wasn’t worth living, but within days of coming off the statins I was feeling great.”

Dr Jarvis prefers to prescribe statins to people who have already suffered a heart attack. Otherwise, she recommends that patients with raised cholesterol make lifestyle changes like improving their diet and exercising more to try to reduce their cholesterol levels.

She said: “I’m a fan of statins in their place, but there is not a pill for every ill. Some people would rather go on a statin than work to reduce their cholesterol, but unless you have already had a heart attack, you ought to make lifestyle changes first before going on to statins.”

The trio of Huddersfield folk selected to take part in the show will be given professional advice and support on what to eat and what to avoid as well as recipes and exercise plans. They will also be given a video camera to record a diary of the ups and downs of their diet and whether they are tempted to stray from it.

Amanda said: “I’ll be recommending that people give up most of their fast food, takeaways, biscuits, cakes and pies and replacing these with plenty of fruit and vegetables, oily fish, porridge, soya and nuts. I’ll help people with recipes as well as giving them moral support to stick to the diet.”

After a month or so their cholesterol levels will be re-tested to see if their levels have improved as a result of the lifestyle changes.

To find out more about the programme please email: or phone Karolina Mottram on 0844 881 1702 or text her on 07736 622 775, or phone Toby Strutt on 0844 881 6453 or text him on 07786 547 227.