Public Health England has recently launched its latest major campaign, which is targeting middle-aged people in a bid to encourage them to look after their health and fitness to ensure a better chance of early retirement. The campaign is the largest since 2009, and aims to address smoking, drinking and a lack of exercise to help people live a healthier lifestyle.
The theme for the campaign is ‘One You’, and aims to be the largest of its kind since the Change4Life campaign, which had a focus on families and cutting down obesity in children. It is hoped that 40% of the deaths which occur in England as a result of unhealthy lifestyle choices will be avoided by raising people’s awareness. At present, it is estimated that treatment for illnesses related to smoking, drinking and poor diet cost the NHS £11bn a year, resulting on a drain on our service for cases which could be avoided.
As part of the campaign, people are being asked to take the One You quiz which will not only help you think about your lifestyle in more detail, but also highlight the areas of your life which are considered unhealthy. The website is packed full of information to help you cut back and make positive changes. It covers areas such as food and drink, sleep and stress, which are all important areas when it comes to our health.
Making positive changes
The campaign provides all sorts of tips on how to make positive changes, including suggestions for slimming clubs, downloadable alcoholic drinks trackers and of course, useful exercise acts such as Couch to 5K. Whilst many people may feel that their work and personal lives leave little room for fitness and eating healthier meals, there are simple changes that everyone can make.
The clinical adviser for the campaign, Professor Sir Muir Gray, has explained that the aim behind One You is to ensure that adults become aware of how their lifestyles are affecting their health, whilst suggesting ways in which they can make changes easily. He said: “Although it has been customary to blame people for their lifestyle, we now appreciate that we need to take into account the environmental pressures that make it difficult to make healthy choices, having to sit eight hours a day at work for example, and then drive an hour home.”
Whilst the proposed solutions may appear simple, the current figures are an indication that the message isn’t getting through. The £3m pound campaign has been praised by Public Health England’s national director, Professor Kevin Fenton, who believes that knowing the combined effect of an individual’s lifestyle choices can have more of an impact on change. Speaking to the Today programme on Radio 4, he said: Instead of having single messages on smoking today and obesity tomorrow, we are putting it together in one package to help people across the country to make those connections, both for short term or long term. It’s about making small changes every day. We often assume people know these things but the reality is many of us don’t. We get bombarded by messages and sometimes it’s hard to make sense of them all.”
What you can do to help yourself
Self-care is an important message being promoted by the NHS and other health bodies, and includes looking after your health through diet, exercise and making healthier lifestyle choices. Some of the ways you can help yourself and ensure a healthier retirement for yourself include:
- Taking advantage of the free blood pressure checks being offered by Asda at its in-store pharmacies
- Join a slimming club for ongoing support and advice about losing weight
- Take up running with the Couch to 5K app and start at 0 to 5k in just 9 weeks.
- Join a gym or start exercising at home, alone or with others if it helps you stay motivated
- Cut down on your portion size and start cooking more meals from scratch at home
- Be sure to get your recommended amount of sleep and seek help if you have difficulty sleeping
- See your GP if you believe you have mental health issues – don’t ignore them!
Visit the One You website for plenty of tips and resources to help you cut down, get active and enjoy a healthier new you. Small changes can make a big difference and if you have any concerns related to your health or your lifestyle habits, book an appointment with your GP.