A recent England-wide survey revealed over 90% of South Asian adults have made the decision to make healthy changes in 2021, with 7 in 10 (68%) saying that they are motivated to make these changes due to coronavirus.1
In addition, the survey found that 34% of those surveyed said they wanted to adopt a healthier lifestyle for their children/grandchildren, whilst 34% wanted to improve their health for their partner.
The data also revealed the most common things people want to do differently in the new year are exercising more (52%) and eating more healthily (51%).
Currently, over 56% of Asian adults are overweight or obese2, putting them at greater risk of becoming seriously ill from diseases including cancer, heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
Despite the latest coronavirus restrictions, there are still lots of ways for people to make these healthier choices and Public Health England’s Better Health campaign encourages and supports adults in taking small steps towards a healthier lifestyle – whether it is losing weight or getting more active.
The Better Health website offers a wide range of free NHS approved tools and tips to manage weight loss such as the NHS Weight Loss Plan, BMI Calculator, Easy Meals App, or to get more active such as Active 10 and the Couch to 5k programme.
The Better Health campaign also works in partnership with a number of weight management and physical activity partners who are providing both free and exclusive discounted offers.
Professor Kevin Fenton, London Regional Director at Public Health England, said: “In spite of the stresses and challenges we are facing as a result of COVID-19, it’s especially heartening to see that more people than ever are motivated to make positive changes and adopt a healthier lifestyle this new year.
“The Better Health website has plenty of healthy eating and physical activity tools, ranging from the NHS 12 Week Weight Loss Plan to the Couch to 5k programme, which helps users set achievable goals to improve their overall health and wellbeing.”
Professor Wasim Hanif, Professor of Diabetes & Endocrinology, Consultant Physician and Clinical Director in diabetes at University Hospital of Birmingham said: “As a community, we are more susceptible to certain diseases such as Type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure.
“Being overweight or obese can significantly increase the chances of becoming seriously ill with those diseases.
“The new year gives us the perfect opportunity to make small, healthy changes with the support of the Better Health campaign.
“I would highly recommend members of the South Asian community to use some of the practical and easy tools available on the Better Health website.
“If you can, get your family or loved ones involved. It can be a lot easier to make change when you have others supporting you.”
Vidya, 46, from Manchester, says: “When the previous lockdown was announced, the uncertainty around my restaurant business and not being able to do exercise as easily resulted in me putting on weight.
“I would like to change this and be able to start running more in 2021. At the moment I go for brisk walking; I have never done a 5k, so this will be a big challenge for me this year – I am looking forward to keeping myself on a healthy path.”
PHE are working with (South Asian) healthcare professionals and other experts to ensure the campaign guidance and tools are culturally compatible with members of the community, as findings also revealed around 42% of South Asian adults said finding relevant information and tools to help guide better physical health is a big challenge.
Dietitian and Consultant Nutritionist Azmina Govindji (@azminanutrion) has shared her top tips for healthier eating including:
- Become ‘portion’ aware – swap your usual plate or bowl for one that is smaller in size and try to say no to second helpings.
- Swap white rice with brown rice and use coarse wholemeal atta for chapatis instead of white flour for better-for-you carbs.
- Try healthier snacks such as a handful of roasted channa, whole almonds, unsalted peanuts, or wholemeal pitta bread strips with two tablespoons of hummus.
- The fibre in fruit and vegetables can help keep you fuller for longer, and most vegetables are low in calories – great for helping you watch your weight.
- Keep an eye on how much juice you drink – even unsweetened fruit juice can have a lot of sugar – so stick to 150mls or a small glass a day.
This January we are making feeling better and getting healthier simple. Take your first step by visiting the Better Health website for free advice and support at nhs.uk/BetterHealth
Let’s do this!
Search ‘Better Health’ for more free tips and tools to start leading a healthier lifestyle today.