Published: 06:16 PM, 19 August 2021 Last Update: 06:44 PM, 19 August 2021
A recent England-wide survey by Public Health England (PHE)reveals that 85% of South Asian adults are motivated to introduce healthyhabits into their lifestyle this summer.
The new insights show the extent that lockdown has impactedthe eating and physical activity habits of different communities with 43% ofSouth Asian adults reporting that they have put on weight since lockdown. Onaverage, those who said they had gained weight during this period reported theyhad gained over half a stone (5.8kg) and 72% believed this was due to eating unhealthilyand eating too much.
In response, PHE has launched its latest ‘Better Health’campaign to encourage adults across the nation to lose excess weight, eat morehealthily and get active this summer. The new campaign offers freeevidence-based support and guidance to those working towards a healthierweight.
There are a variety of NHS endorsed apps, including the newlyupdated NHS Weight Loss Plan app - which according to new research due to bepublished by PHE, suggests that those who used and followed the plan over 12weeks, reported an average loss of almost a stone.
The wide range of resources also includes new recipes thatoffer healthier versions of traditional south asian dishes such as chickenjalfrezi, macher jhol, and punjabi dhal to help people introduce small andsimple changes this summer. These recipes, and more, will be available on theNHS Easy Meals App.
As part of the campaign brothers Neil and Sean Mukherjee fromOxford, have shared their experience of weight gain during the pandemic and howthey have worked together to develop healthier eating habits over lockdown.
For Neil and Sean, cooking is an opportunity to beexperimental with traditional recipes and make healthy tweaks. The brotherslearnt to cook from their mother from an early age. “She taught us that spicesact as the foundation of all South Asian cooking,” says Neil. Later as adults,they spent some time in India and learnt how to cook more traditional Indianrecipes.
Neil Mukherjee said: “Our relationship with food is soimportant. We wanted to start eating better, but we wanted to continue eatingthe Indian dishes we know and love. We used the Better Health website to findtips on how to get started on our better health journey.”
Now, instead of reaching for coconut oil, they opt forhealthier oils such as sunflower or olive oil. The brothers have also reducedtheir rice and chapati portions, and increased their vegetable intake afterbeing inspired by all the vegetable-based dishes they discovered whilst inIndia.
Dr Linia Patel (PhD, RD, MBDA), Dietitian & SportsNutritionist, said: “Maintaining healthy habits has been far from easy over thepast year which for many of us has meant we have gained more weight than wemight have expected. However, summer is a great opportunity to eat healthily,be more active, and start making more changes to lose some weight and improveour health. That is where the Better Health campaign comes in, it has a rangeof free tools and support if you want to eat healthier, get active and loseweight. The NHS Weight Loss Plan app for example helps people lose weight in aneasy, healthy and safe manner.”
Dr Alison Tedstone, Chief Nutritionist, Public Health Englandsaid: “The past sixteen months have caused many to change their habits so it isnot a surprise to see so many people reporting weight gain.
“We know how hard it can be to lose weight and keep it off –so, we are providing a range of support options to help motivate people andhelp them maintain a healthy weight. It’s never too late to make changes tohelp improve your health. Visit the Better Health website for ideas and supportthat is right for you and you can seek support from your local weightmanagement service.”
Better Health is also working in partnership with a number ofweight management and physical activity partners who are providing both freeand exclusive discounted offers. PHE is also working with local authorities toprovide weight management support to those who need it.
The upcoming launch of the new Office for Health Promotion inAutumn will lead national efforts to level up the health of the nation bycontinuing to support people living with obesity, supporting mental health andpromoting physical activity.
Search ‘Better Health’ or visit nhs.uk/betterhealth for freetools and support to start leading a healthier lifestyle today.