Monday, 16 July 2007

While I was in London over the weekend I was really aware of the huge problem we have in this country with obesity...

It certainly is a huge problem but how can you stop yourself and your family from becoming overweight or obese? We all know that many things can affect your weight but if you have a healthy diet and keep physically active then it’s much easier to stay a healthy weight.

How can you eat healthily? The National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) publishes guidance that says that a healthy diet is the key and important for all the family, including children and young people. After all we are what we eat!

They say that following their advice will help you stay a healthy weight.
  • Base your meals on starchy foods such as potatoes, bread, rice and pasta, choosing wholegrain where possible.
  • Eat plenty of fibre-rich foods such as oats, beans, peas, lentils, grains, seeds, fruit and vegetables, as well as wholegrain bread, and brown rice and pasta.
  • Eat at least five portions of a variety of fruit and vegetables a day in place of foods higher in fat and calories.
  • Choose low-fat foods.
  • Avoid foods containing a lot of fat and sugar, such as fried food, sweetened drinks, sweets and chocolate. Some takeaways and ‘fast’ foods contain a lot of fat and sugar.
  • Eat breakfast.
  • Watch the portion sizes of meals and snacks, and how often you are eating.
  • Drink lots of water and avoid taking in too many calories in the form of alcohol.
How can you keep physically active? All the research suggests that small everyday changes can make a big difference. You don’t have to join a gym or sports club although it might help and below is some more advice from the NICE guidance.
  • Try walking or cycling to the shops.
  • Avoid sitting for too long in front of the television, at a computer or playing video games... you could try gradually reducing how long you sit down in front of a screen by setting some time limits.
  • Try to build physical activity into the working day... you could take the stairs instead of the lift, or go for a walk at lunchtime.

We can all do something to tackle what is a growing epidemic in this country.


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