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Newham residents urged to make small changes for healthier lives

11:05 08 January 2014

Newham residents making New Year’s resolutions are urged to set small, achievable goals to help them lead healthier lives this year.

Millions have resolved to improve their health in 2014 but Newham GPs are reminding the borough’s residents that it’s often the small changes that can make a big difference.

Dr Zuhair Zarifa, chair of NHS Newham Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and a local GP, said: “Keeping a New Year’s resolution can be tough, and good intentions can be forgotten when you return to your normal routing in January. As GPs, we recommend setting achievable personal goals with incentives to keep you moving forward.

“Cutting down on your alcohol intake, stopping smoking or looking at your diet can help to reduce the risks of developing serious long term health problems. Deciding to improve your lifestyle can seem daunting, but making the decision to change is often the most difficult part.

“It’s also not too late to join Cancer Research UK’s ‘Dryathlon’ campaign, which sponsors people to go for the whole of January without drinking. This is not only good for your health, but it could save you money and help you lose weight.

“If you’d like advice on what you can do to improve your physical health or if you’re looking for more information on services available in your local community, don’t hesitate to make an appointment with your local GP.”

Further advice can also be found online on the NHS “Change for Life” website.

To lead a healthier lifestyle there are lots of small changes you can make to your life that will over time make a big difference:

*Get active: Take the stairs, get off the tube or bus one or two stops before your regular stop and walk the rest of the way home and for short trips use your feet not the car. Gardening, taking up a sport, playing outside with your children, riding a bike, or swimming are all fun ways to get active and get healthy.

*Eat more fruit and vegetables: Fresh fruit and vegetables are usually better for you and your family than pre-packaged food. Check the labels of the food you are eating. If there is a high percentage of fat and sugar (energy, calories) then look for something healthier.

*Change the way you cook and prepare food: Cut down on the fat, oil, butter, and sugar you use when cooking. Try grilling food rather than frying it.

*Relax and reflect: Make some ‘you time’ every week. You could use this time to think about your goals and what you’ve done towards them.

*Stop smoking: If your goal for 2014 is to stop smoking you can get free support and advice close to your home from your local pharmacy and GP. The NHS Stop Smoking Service can also offer support to help you quit and can be reached on 0300 123 1014.

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