New Year, new you?

Adults are being encouraged to prioritise their health in 2017 by making simple changes to their lifestyle which will reduce their risk of illness.   

Merton Council, LiveWell Merton and Merton Clinical Commissioning Group are supporting Public Health England’s One You campaign which has been refreshed for 2017. Adults of all ages are being encouraged to complete an online quiz called How Are You? This asks about their eating, exercise, drinking and smoking habits and uses the answers to provide recommendations on how to lead a healthier lifestyle.

As part of the campaign, David Tchilingirian, a Registered Nutritionist who works for Merton Council, has compiled his top ten tips for healthy changes which can be incorporated into daily life:

  • Use the free outdoor gyms in Merton’s parks
  • Walk on short journeys instead of driving, or get off the bus one stop early
  • Use the stairs instead of the lift
  • Ditch the sugary drinks and keep a bottle of water in your bag or on your desk and sip it during the day
  • Snack on one more portion of fresh, seasonal fruit.
  • Ask for lots of vegetables with your lunch or bring them in with you
  • Swap the pasties and biscuits for baked breads
  • Smoking is one resolution you’re allowed to quit
  • If you are over the age of 40, get an NHS Health Check.
  • People over the age of 30 can see how their heart age compares to their real age by taking the online NHS Heart Age Test.
  • Have several alcohol-free days each week

There is support available for Merton residents who want to lead a healthier lifestyle.

The new NHS Health Help Now app for Merton can be downloaded onto a smartphone or tablet or viewed online at www.merton.healthhelpnow.nhs.uk. It includes information and a directory of local health services and sources of support including the stop smoking service run by LiveWell Merton.

LiveWell Merton has also teamed up with the AFC Wimbledon Foundation to deliver the eight-week FamilyChange4Life programme. While children aged between five and 13 take part in a weekly exercise session, which is held at schools or in community centres, while their parents attend classes about nutrition run by dieticians. During the final fortnight families will play sport together.

Merton Council’s Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care and Health, Councillor Tobin Byers said: “Eating more nutritious food, drinking less alcohol, quitting smoking and exercising regularly are always popular resolutions at the start of a new year.

“Making small changes towards a healthier lifestyle can have huge benefits, giving you more energy and helping you to stay looking and feeling young. Taking better care of yourself will also help you to look after others who depend on you as well as reducing your risk of contracting serious illnesses in the future.”

Alex Rusell, Health Improvement Manager at LiveWell Merton said: “LiveWell Merton are here to help residents on their journey towards becoming healthier. We can support people quit smoking and lose weight by attending our various programmes and clinics, or we can simply help direct people to find activity classes they may be interested in attending. It all starts with a quick phone call or email so we would urge people to get in touch with us in the first week of January to get 2017 off to the best start possible!”

People who need help to stop smoking, should speak to their GP, pharmacist or contact the Stop Smoking Service at LiveWell Merton on 020 8973 3545 or email hrch.livewell@nhs.net

For more information about the FamilyChange4Life programme which is signing up parents and their children by 31 January, visit LiveWell Merton’s website or contact LiveWell Merton by telephone 020 8973 3545 or email: hrch.livewell@nhs.net