Something for ‘U’

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Something for ‘U’

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A new campaign encourages Brits to improve their health and ‘do something good for U’ in JanUary. Charlotte Rixon reports

The National Obesity Forum (NOF) has launched JanUary – a new campaign to encourage everyone in the country to commit to making sustainable changes for the good of their long-term health.

Despite good intentions, New Year’s resolutions usually fail within the first few weeks, often because they are too challenging to keep up. But this year, NOF is hoping to inspire people to make small lifestyle changes that they can maintain, such as avoiding snacks, drinking less alcohol or being a little more physically active.

Coinciding with the campaign launch, NOF has published a public health manifesto, calling for various policies to fight obesity, including a 50 per cent tax on sugary drinks, routine weight monitoring of children, a ban on fast food outlets near schools and a junk food advertising watershed.

“There have been repeated warnings about the health of the population, but we remain in the midst of an obesity epidemic,” said NOF chairman, Professor David Haslam. “The measures we’ve proposed could be relatively easily implemented with substantial benefits to public health.”

Sugar substitutions

JanUary is also urging the public to undertake a sugars reduction challenge, after a recent NOF survey found that one in three Britons are unwilling to make simple dietary substitutions to reduce their sugar intake. When presented with a list of sugar swaps, 24 per cent of respondents elected to exchange fizzy drinks for sugar-free alternatives, 15 per cent agreed to replace sugar in their tea with sweeteners and 12 per cent chose to swap sugary cereal for porridge. However, 31 per cent were not prepared to make any changes.

Professor Haslam added: “We know that reducing the amount of sugar we consume can have long-term health benefits. What we’re asking the public to do this January is to think about the food and drink they’re consuming, and to see the effects if they make what are relatively small changes.”

People can take part in JanUary by completing a ‘Pledge Card’ on the website and sharing it via social media, using the hashtag #dosomethinggoodforU.

The website also contains information, tips and recipes to help participants stay on track.

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