Council bid to improve St Helens’ health woes

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St Helens Council is lending support to the national campaign, which helps people to take control of their health.

March marks the launch of ‘One You’, a ground-breaking new campaign to help adults across the country avoid future diseases caused by modern day life.

Everyday habits and behaviours – such as eating too much unhealthy food, drinking more than is recommended, continuing to smoke and not being active enough – are responsible for around 40 per cent of all deaths in England, and cost the NHS more than £11 billion a year.

One You aims to encourage adults, particularly those in middle age, to take control of their health to enjoy significant benefits now, and in later life.

People are encouraged to start by taking a new online health quiz, called ‘How Are You?’. This innovative quiz provides personalised recommendations based on your results and directs people to tools and advice to help them take action where it’s most needed.

Over half (56 per cent) of 40-60 year olds taking the ‘How Are You’ quiz said they were likely to change their lifestyle to improve their health because of the feedback it gave them.

There is also a quiz - - where residents can access how heqalthy (or not) they really are.

2015 JSNA data for the borough indicates that alcohol use, healthy eating and keeping active are particular problems in St Helens.

· Two in three adults in St Helens are overweight and only one in three men and one in six women are exercising enough to keep them healthy.

· Alcohol deaths in St Helens are twice the national average for women and one of the highest in the country. (alcohol specific mortality 2014-16 is 18.1 per 100,000 population in st Helens women compared with 7.4 per 100,000 population in England).

· In St Helens One in five adults smoke, although this has reduced over recent years.

· Around 40 per cent of all deaths in England are related to behaviour

· The NHS spends more than £11bn a year on treating illnesses caused by the effects of diet, inactivity, smoking and drinking alcohol

Coun Jeanie Bell, St Helens Council’s Cabinet Member for Public Health and Wellbeing, said: “Many of us find it easier to accept that reduced health in later life is inevitable, rather than try to do something to live healthier for longer.

“It’s a very damaging attitude to have because by making small changes to habits and lifestyles, older people can live as well as young people.

“Alcohol-related harm in particular remains a significant issue locally, with a much higher rate of alcohol-specific hospital admissions for men and women in St Helens than the national average, which is certainly something we need to address.

“Reducing your alcohol consumption can help you avoid a range of dangerous health problems later in life.”

The How Are You? Quiz covers a range of lifestyle choices that could be putting your health at risk, including alcohol consumption, diet, physical activity and mental wellbeing.

Latest figures show that life expectancy at older ages is at record levels, yet many are spending their retirement living in ill health. Currently 15 million Britons are living with a long-term health condition, yet studies show living healthily in middle age can double your chances of being healthy when you are 70.3.

The new campaign from Public Health England will help adults in St Helens to move more, eat well, drink less and be smoke free. One You will also provide information on how people can reduce their stress levels and sleep better.

Liz Gaulton, Director of Public Health for St Helens Council, said: “Helping adults, particularly those in middle age, make some small

lifestyle changes today can have a dramatic positive impact on their health, now and in the future. Living more healthily can help prevent conditions like type 2 diabetes, cancer and heart disease whilst reducing the risk of suffering a stroke or developing dementia, disability and frailty in later life.

“One You gives people the chance to reappraise their lifestyle choices, put themselves first and do something about their own health before problems develop.”