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Expanding Problem Of Ill Health Posted on 7 Dec 2018

It is well recognised that our Country like many others faces a health crisis. There is a massive increase in Obesity across all age groups. We are all becoming fatter! There is statistical evidence that Eden are set to have the greatest increase in Obesity - more than any other Cumbrian locality. As a result, there will be a skyrocketing number of newly diagnosed Diabetics from young to old. More people than ever are at risk of heart attacks, strokes and the associated health burden that a chronic disease or acute event brings. These are over and above the physical symptoms and includes stress, depression and social isolation.

We are bombarded with message that tell us they have the solution – various diets, exercise classes, expensive diet replacement pills and superfoods.

But in simple terms we have all become over-eating sedentary communities that increasingly are too busy to look after ourselves and each other. We need to eat healthier food, in smaller portions and move our bodies more. Remembering to be socially interactive and aware of loneliness in our community.

Diet: There is little doubt that natural, fresh, unprocessed foods and drinks are the best.

Activity: Regular exercise is excellent for weight, strength and stability and mental wellbeing. Walk, cycle, garden, swim or dance, discover an activity that suits your level of mobility and fitness.

Sleep: There is also an impact of sleep deprivation on health and wellbeing. Whether that is through stress, consumption of certain foods, technology and artificial light – we are all getting less good quality sleep.

Connect: Get to know your friends, family, colleagues and neighbours. Walk to work, join a group together or just share a drink and a chat. Building relationships will support and enrich your life.

Awareness: Be aware of yourself and your surroundings: Being interested and aware or your emotions and surroundings helps you to appreciate your experiences and what is really important to you. Take on a new activity or hobby. Learning new things and setting challenges to yourself will make you more confident, less stressed as well as being fun to do.

Give something back: Helping others, be that a friend, neighbour or stranger. It can be incredibly rewarding and will make a huge difference to the community around you. Simply thanking people and smiling can make you and others feel good. Volunteering your time or joining a new group creates connections in the community around you.

Your GP Practice wants to help you by making you aware of the problems the community faces, but it is the community that needs to help itself. Unfortunately, health services are too often overwhelmed with managing the acute problems like heart attacks, strokes, depression and joint pains that we can do little to educate and turn the tide of Obesity and sedentary lifestyle which causes tomorrows ill health.

Obviously, everybody has the freedom to pursue their own lifestyle choices and what really matters to them the most. But we urge people to think about their health and take responsibility for it themselves, so that overall we can have a healthier and happier community. The barriers to individual change are never as big as we first think, but unfortunately all too often they are only considered after the heart attack or stroke.

As a community we would see benefit if volunteer activities could encompass promoting and signposting people to the many exercise and social groups that already exist. There has been clear evidenced improvement in health and wellbeing in communities that appointment a ‘Care co-ordinator’ who can be informed of the ever changing local groups and wider charity organisations and disseminate information to those requesting it.

Dr Galea
Upper Eden Medical Practice

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