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Your journey to Better Health

Public Health England (PHE) discusses its Better Health campaign, to help people make and sustain healthy changes to their lives

Why is living a healthy lifestyle more important than ever?

For many, this year has been a wake-up call, with people realising how precious their health is and the importance of getting it back on track. What’s more, many have been surprised by how able they have been to change their behaviour, with lockdown showing they are able to make and sustain healthy changes to their lives.

Nearly two thirds (63%) of adults in England are overweight or living with obesity1. Gaining weight is often a gradual process, but this extra weight causes pressure to build up around vital organs, making it harder for the body to fight against diseases like cancer, heart disease – and now COVID-19. Data shows that people living with obesity are significantly more likely to become seriously ill with COVID-19 compared to those with a healthy body mass index (BMI)2. 

How is BMI calculated?

BMI uses a formula based on height and weight which individuals can check to help improve their health and wellbeing, experts say that individuals should aim to have a BMI below 25 and above 18.53. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) recommends that Black, Asian and minority ethnic groups (BAME) should aim to have a BMI below 23 and above 18.5 to avoid risks to health4. 

Public Health England’s Better Health is here for you!

Better Health is aimed at encouraging millions of adults to kick-start their health and wellbeing by introducing changes to help them lose weight and keep it off, with personalised advice on eating better and getting active.

Better Health gives people access to a range of tools to help them manage their weight loss in a way which suits them – from checking their BMI, to knowing how to make healthier choices.

The NHS Weight Loss Plan (available on online and via the Appstore) is a free and simple 12-week plan which helps people to keep track of their calorie intake, portions of fruit and veg, physical activity level and teaches skills to prevent weight gain.

The Better Health webpage also directs to other proven tools and apps, like Couch to 5K, Active10, Food Scanner and Easy Meals. Alongside the free NHS Weight Loss Plan, PHE is also working with a number of weight management providers who are offering discounts across their weight loss programmes, including WW Weight Watchers reimagined, Slimming World and MAN v FAT.

Pharmacies across the country are also supporting customers and promoting healthy lifestyles with Better Health, so do ask your local community pharmacist if you have any questions on the support available.

To find out more, visit nhs.uk/BetterHealth for free tools and support to start leading a healthier lifestyle today.

NUTRITION

✚ If you’re trying to lose weight: for a man aim for a maximum of 400 calories at breakfast and 600 for lunch and dinner (plus drinks and a couple of healthy veg and fruit-based snacks in-between). For women this is around 300 calories at breakfast and 400 at lunch and dinner.

✚ Try to aim for around 1,400kcals a day if you’re a woman and around 1,900kcals if you’re a man.

✚ Snack less – no more than twice a day – and go for veg based ones. If you’re having packaged snacks, go for those with around 100kcals and stick to two a day max.

✚ Check the ‘traffic light’ labels and go for foods and drinks with more greens and ambers and less reds.

✚ When it comes to fruit and veg; the more the better! Get your 5 A Day. They’re low in calories.

PHYSICAL ACTIVITY

✚ When it comes to exercise, some is good, but more is better – the more time active you are, the greater the health benefits. Remember every minute counts!

✚ It is never too late to get active to improve your health, so start small and build up starting from 10 minutes of brisk walking a day.

References

  1. Health Survey for England 2018
  2. Rapid review of COVID-19 and obesity advice to SOS
  3. Health Survey for England 2016
  4. NICE recommendations 1–18 in Preventing type 2 diabetes: risk identification and interventions for individuals at high risk (public health guidance 38).

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