Feb 25 2013 By Tom Dunn, Hillingdon Health Promotion Officer
This week there has been a big report by the royal colleges on tackling obesity http://www.aomrc.org.uk/about-us/news/item/doctors-unite-to-deliver-prescription-for-uk-obesity-epidemic.html .
It’s very good and has some good tangible actions. It’s great that the (combined) medical profession see beyond drug and surgery treatment and are recommending measures such as a fizzy drink tax, nutritional standards for hospital food and changes to planning laws.
A little sunshine can go a long way...
At the weekend I did the Brighton Half Marathon. It is always consistent and well organised but the weather can be dodgy. The weather was stunning (see pic), sunny, warm(ish) and not to windy. It was a great feeling having the sun on my skin and made me look forward to the weather improving.
In two separate sessions this week I have discussed the sun and more importantly sun exposure and Vitamin D. I was amazed to meet three local residents who had experienced muscle pain and weakness from VitD deficiency. It’s something I had read about in Scotland and not heard of anyone in the South. They were both happy to talk about their experiences and it’s great their GP’s checked their VitD status and treated them.
VitD deficiency is quite common in the UK and is increasing http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-20710026 . For more information on VitD have a look at http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/vitamins-minerals/Pages/Vitamin-D.aspx
There are many reasons why deficiency is increasing and is thought to be related to many other health conditions. The simplest way to up your intake is to maximise safe sun exposure in the summer months and follow a balanced and healthy diet (Sources of VitD include eggs, fish, low sugar fortified breakfast cereals, low fat spreads).
Getting enough Vitamin D from food is not easy, tinned Sardines in Tomato sauce are my favourite source, but not to everyone’s taste!
Getting out and about...
In London we are blessed with lots of green space, low levels of smog and fogs and drier weather than other parts of the UK, we need to try and be outdoors more. Physical activity is a ‘miracle’ drug of sorts and if we are outside on sunny days we can top up our D levels as well. There is no perfect number of minutes of sun exposure (as all our skins is different shades) but in the region of 10-20 minutes is suggested http://www.nhs.uk/news/2010/12December/Pages/sunlight-exposure-and-vitamin-d-advice.aspx
However if you have darker skin or are indoors a lot you may struggle to get enough sun exposure, it’s a cheap test for your GP so it maybe worth going for a check up.
Have a look at the council's web pages for some great ideas to keep fit and active, and discover all the great parks and open spaces you can visit in Hillingdon. There are prizes up for grabs too! www.hillingdon.gov.uk/change4life
In other news...
My bread making has started. Loaf 1 was a small unleavened brick (my Yeast was out of date) Loaf 2 was good if a little dense. I’ve got better flour now and (think) my kneading is improving. I’m hoping this weekend I crack it and get a nice loaf I’m happy with!