Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Why We Need to Improve Our Health; Get A Better Life: People

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Why We Need to Improve Our Health; Get A Better Life: People

Article excerpt

HEALTHY eating and exercise are essential ingredients to a better life.

And unfortunately there is much to be done when it comes to improving the state of the Tees Valley's health.

We are worse than the national average when it comes to smoking and drinking. Levels of obesity are among the worst in the country.

And we are failing to make the grade when it comes to eating enough fruit and vegetables. Department of Health figures for 2007 reveal more than a quarter of adults binge drink in Middlesbrough and Stockton and more than a third of people in Middlesbrough and Redcar and Cleveland are smokers.

While nationally almost a quarter of adults eat their five portions of fruit and vegetables every day, only 16% of people in Middlesbrough, 18% in Redcar and Cleveland and 17% in Stockton are hitting the target.

And almost a quarter of people in the Tees Valley are classed as obese.

Professor Carolyn Summerbell, head of Teesside University's Centre for Food, Physical Activity and Obesity - who is leading the Get A Better Life research programme - said: "In terms of healthy diet and physical activity, this region isn't doing very well.

"When it comes to body weight and obesity, we are one of the worst areas in the country. "But we believe with Get A Better Life we can work towards changing that and help the region become more healthy.

"We know that people who eat well and take regular exercise are generally happier and have a better quality of life."

The research will provide information about the lifestyle of Teessiders at a more detailed level than ever before.

"The data we collect will be the most detailed look at what people eat and do in our region," she added.

"But it will be so much more than that. We'll be asking people why they are taking part, what they want to achieve - and ask them how they got on at the end of the programme.

"We want to know what things were easy to achieve and which were difficult - or even impossible - to do. …

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