‘Healthy changes start with little changes’ – that’s the message from the Better Health campaign which is supported by One You Kent services to help people lose weight and get active.
Kent residents who are facing increasing health issues from poor key lifestyle behaviours including inactivity and unhealthy eating, along with smoking and drinking too much alcohol, could be seeing short and long term effects on their emotional and physical health, leading to an increased risk of many types of cancer, heart and lung disease and stroke.
Figures for 2019/20 estimate 64% of adults aged over 18 were overweight and obese, compared to the national average of just under 63%. While this is similar to the previous year, health experts are concerned Covid, lockdowns and changes in lifestyle may mean an increase in those who are overweight.
So if you want to lose weight and get active, One You Kent is here with lots of free tools and support at www.kent.gov.uk/healthyweight where you can also try the ‘How are You?’ quiz, Easy meals app or Active 10 app, and find the NHS 12 week diet and exercise plan, plus a referral form to speak to a One You Kent advisor.
Anthony from Dartford lost over five stone, reduced his blood pressure and is no longer diabetic or suffering from sleep apnoea. He said: “I couldn’t recommend it highly enough; I’m healthier and probably going to live longer! My mental wellbeing is better and I feel on top of the world. Through the walking group I joined, I’ve also met some people who’ve become lifelong friends and am helping in my local community with voluntary activities so I can’t get enough exercise at the moment which is something that – two years ago – I never thought I’d be saying!”
Leohnara from Gravesend has been working with the One You Kent team from The Grand by attending local fitness sessions. She said: “I get benefit from it as I’ve lost over two stone in weight since I’ve been coming. I’ve been eating more healthily, and it helps with stopping isolation because it gets me out of the house, into the fresh air and out with the other ladies.”
Ray and Jacky enjoy joining the healthy walks at Leybourne Lakes, supported by the Tonbridge Borough Council One You Kent team. They explain: “It’s good for my health and I enjoy the company. When I retired, I felt really unfit but coming to the walks regularly have really helped me get into shape. If I stopped and did nothing, then I’d probably just seize up.”
One You Kent services are commissioned by Kent County Council and are provided by partners Kent Community NHS Foundation Trust in east Kent, and the district councils in west Kent.
KCC Cabinet Member for Public Health and Adult Social Care, Clair Bell said: “It’s been another challenging year with changes to the way we live and work which might be affecting our physical and mental health.
“Maintaining a healthy weight can help to prevent many illnesses but we know that achieving and sustaining a healthy weight can be difficult for lots of people; it is a key public health priority for us to focus on changeable factors and support families. This includes helping them to eat a healthy, balanced, reduced-calorie and sugar diet, and exercise regularly, at least 30 minutes a day of brisk walking.
“We support national initiatives such as Better Health and you can find information on that plus a huge range of apps and online advice as well as details on local support services.”
Mark Cummings, One You Kent Locality Lead for Kent Community NHS Foundation Trust said: “One You Kent understands how important your health is to you and your loved ones. We have the tools and support you need to quit smoking, get active, and lose weight or just feel better about life.
We can support you by telephone and video calls as well as virtual groups, from the comfort of your home, to set small goals to make big changes. We understand technology can be tricky to start with but our advisors will talk you through everything and help you get off to a great start in 2022. Follow One You Kent on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for playlists, videos and information to help on your journey to a healthier YOU this year.”
For advice about small changes you can make to improve your health and wellbeing including quitting smoking and reducing how much alcohol you drink, and to find more support in your area regarding your lifestyle, see www.oneyoukent.org.uk