Councillors ‘choose to live better’
COUNCILLORS in Limavady have thrown their weight behind a new campaign to tackle Northern Ireland’s growing obesity problem, which was launched by the Public Health Agency (PHA) last month.
Elected representatives turned up early for Council’s monthly Development meeting this week in order to get their health stats checked out.
Council staff also availed of the service, which gauged weight, body fat percentage, peak flow and blood pressure readings.
“We are encouraging people to avail of a one stop MOT,” said Limavady Health Development Worker Eimear Teague. “It is aimed at people who do not want to go to their doctors or cannot find the time. Councillors have a busy day, and by taking part they are actively promoting the importance of keeping a check on health.”
A dedicated website - www.choosetolivebetter.com - has been developed as part of a nationwide public information campaign, which runs until March. A Limavady Community Evening (LCE) will showcase positive lifestyle opportunities, where people can obtain information on various health issues next month,in line with the campaign’s objective.
The event is open to everyone and people will be offered free testing on blood glucose, cholesterol, blood pressure, body fat and BMI. It will be facilitated by various professionals from the area. Information on drug/alcohol abuse sexual health, mental health as well as screening from Chest Heart and Stroke and Cancer Focus will also be available.
“Physical activity opportunities will be highlighted as well as nutritional and supplement advice from key sources,” said Eimear. “There will also be free alternative therapies on the night.” LCE will run on Wednesday, March 27 from 6:00pm to 9:00pm in Roe Valley Leisure Centre. The PHA last month confirmed more than half of all adults in Northern Ireland (61 per cent) are now overweight or obese. It said obesity increases the risk of developing serious diseases and reduces life expectancy by up to nine years. The PHA’s director of public health, Dr Carolyn Harper, said: “More than one in two adults in Northern Ireland are now overweight or obese, but many people don’t even realise that they fall into this category and are putting their health at risk.”
She added that being overweight or obese “increases the risk of developing heart disease, some cancers and type 2 diabetes.” Dr Harper added: “This campaign aims to help people recognise when they are overweight or obese, explain the health effects, and encourage those who need to, to make small, realistic lifestyle changes that will help them maintain a healthy weight.”
Limavady Councillors explained their reasons for getting their health stats checked. “I’ve been off the cigarettes since the New Year and I don’t want to put on the weight, so this will be a good benchmark to get everything checked,” said Tony MaCaul. For Dermot Nicholl, it was about setting a positive example to the people he represents. “It’s about taking steps to work towards and maintain a healthy lifestyle,” he said. “My brother is diabetic and by getting my stats checked, I hope I can set an example for others to follow. It only takes a couple of minutes.” Councillor Brenda Chivers has a personal reason for committing to a weight loss programme. “My daughter is getting married next year, so the incentive to lose weight is there,” she said.
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Sunday 19 May 2013
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