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Q&A: My Newham - Laila McNeily, an advisor for the 150Club which helps people at risk of diabetes, discusses how to make Newham healthier

PUBLISHED: 17:00 21 September 2018

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Health advisor Laila McNeily discusses fast food, getting active and cleaning up the streets as she talks to Awil Mohamoud about her passion for the borough

Laila McNeilly works for the 150Club, a programme aimed at preventing and reducing the risk of Type 2 diabetes and cardio vascular disease for Newham’s residents. The 24-week course offers physical activities to help local people take control of their own health. It takes its name from the 150 minutes of exercise people should take each week.

What’s your connection with the borough?

I have lived and worked in the borough for more than 20 years as an exercise instructor for Newham Council, Active Newham, Swing Patrol and as a nutritionist and healthy lifestyle coach for various events. More recently I’ve been working as coordinator and lifestyle advisor for the 150Club programme for West Ham United Foundation.

What’s the best thing about working or living in the borough?

Knowing the area means I can confidently signpost people to appropriate activities and venues, and it makes networking and developing links with other colleagues and organisations easier.

What one thing would you change?

Cleaner streets would be nice and I would impose fines for dog fouling.

Use three words to describe the area.

Diverse, vibrant and bustling.

Who is the most inspiring person you have ever met?

It’s hard to choose one. Work colleagues, who tirelessly work to promote health improvement in the borough, sometimes with limited resources. Most of the clients I work with have inspired me by changing their lifestyles and spreading healthy messages to their families and friends.

What new law would you introduce if you were the prime minister?

That’s a tricky one. I would say a law to limit the number of fast-food shops. No area needs five or more unhealthy food establishments on one street.

If you were the editor of this paper, what issues in the borough would you focus on?

I would focus on some of the issues that West Ham United Foundation are working on to address problems around health and wellbeing, tackling exclusion and poverty and advancing education and employability.

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