Do we need to gain a greater awareness of the health benefits of eating less and moving more, or is it that we know, but it’s the effort which is holding us back?
The week of 11-15 June has marked the British Nutrition Foundation’s ‘Healthy Eating week’. BNF #HealthyEatingWeek is a dedicated week in the year where organisations can focus on promoting and supporting eating healthily and being active.
Now, I’m never one to be negative about a positive – and the positive being an awareness boost on the benefits of sound nutrition and activity can’t be a bad thing. My issue is that the failure of Government, major organisations, schools, healthcare systems and the wider public in general to truly embrace these concepts has meant that a week of this nature is necessary.
The narrative during this week is not going to be groundbreaking. The educational packs are likely to be basic in nature – covering:
• The key concepts of a calorie deficit ie, if you consume fewer calories than you expend across a day, you will lose weight.
• The 5 or 7 fruit and veg each day (the number will depend on how up-to-date the pamphlets)
• The fact that exercise is good for the heart, lungs, bones, stress, mood and mental health.
How is this information not already broadly accepted, understood and implemented already? How have we got to a point where the National Health Service is overrun by an abundance of preventable illnesses and disease; how are kids – obese kids –turning to ‘concentration pills’ at school; how can businesses stand by and watch as workers’ productivity diminish as the day progresses as they observe their cohorts sitting at their desk eating their lunches!
For the most part, I actually don’t think an awareness boost is massively necessary these days. People generally know. But guess what? Nutritious fruit and veg doesn’t give you the same immediate endorphin buzz that a cake or chocolate does. Powerwalking to the train station and walking up the stairs instead of the waiting for the bus and standing on the escalators is more effort. Reducing food intake to create a calorie deficit means you are hungry which is uncomfortable. My point: it’s not awareness that we’re lacking, it’s focus, dedication and commitment.
Let’s face it, in this context freewill hasn’t worked so well. So now, it should be the job of businesses, schools, institutions to make activity a mandatory part of everyday within their environment. Introducing schemes that reward and this should include a ban on any lunches at desks!
Better behaviour in children, improved attention and focus, greater productivity, happier people!
In today’s world, if a workplace had a weight loss challenge everybody would be up in arms! Its shaming fat people, they’d say. No, it’s recognising that overweight and obese people are much more likely to die young. It’s giving them a reward – let us encourage you to save your life…..how dare they?!
What remains during this week is that whatever the solution, the fact remains, that not enough is being done. It’s time for a change!
Eat less, move more. Got it?
A balanced diet consists of key macronutrients (carbohydrates, proteins and fats), micronutrients (vitamins and minerals), water and fibre. Remove any aspect of these from your diet and you will have an unsustainable, unbalanced diet. Simple! We can lower and occasionally alter the contribution of each macronutrient, but essentially each need to be present over the long-term. This blog explores the benefits of consuming fats in your diet.